|Craftsmen and Components
Hyakumanto and Darani-kyo (four short prayers)
with a commentary in Japanese by Torataro Yoneyama (Seikado Bunko Library)
Limited edition of 125 copies. ISBN 4-8419-0170-1
|The Hyakumanto Darani, or the One Million Pagodas and Darani Prayers, is known as one of the earliest known examples of printing in the world. Empress Shotoku of Japan gave the imperial order that one million copies of Darani prayers be printed as prayers for peace. The printing was completed around 770 AD. The prayers were contained in wooden pagodas which were dedicated to ten major temples including the Horyuji and the Todaiji temples.
The Hyakumanto consists of four prayers of the Mukujoko-kyo and a small three-story wooden pagoda. These prayers, entitled Kompon, Jishinin, Sorin and Rokudo from the Darani-kyo, were printed on paper measuring from 15 to 50 cm. long and 5.4 to 5.6 cm. wide and were placed inside the pagoda which measures about 21.4 cm. in height. The base of the pagoda was made of "Hinoki" wood (cypress tree) and the top section was made of "Katsura" wood (Katsura tree). Some pagodas were made from different types of wood.
This edition of the Hyakumanto Darani is the modern edition published by the courtesy of the Seikado Bunko Library. The Darani-kyo is printed on Japanese hand-made paper (washi) and the pagoda is made of Katsura wood.
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