On the origin of printing in the light of new archaeological discoveries

Abstract

30 years have pas. since a printeddhārani sūtra scroll was discovered in 1966 in Kyongju. Korea. However. there have been different views about the date and place of its printing and publication in Korea and abroad. Some Korean scholars think that it was translated into Chinese from Sanskrit in 704 in China and printed during 706–751 in the Silla period in Korea. After a further research it is now proved that this sutra was translated into Chinese in 701 and printed in the following year, 702, in Luoyang, during the reign of Empress Wu. This shows that the sutra could not have been printed in the Silla period. The discoveries of theSnddharma pundarik sūtra printed during 690–699 and the Sanskritdharani charm printed around 650–670 in China also show that thedhārani sutra found in Korea is not the earliest one. Both literary records and archaeological findings prove that printing originated in China.

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Correspondence to Jixing Pan.

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Pan, J. On the origin of printing in the light of new archaeological discoveries. Chin.Sci.Bull. 42, 976–981 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02882611

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Keywords

  • origin
  • printing
  • China
  • dhārani sūtra