A seventh-century devotion
Period: Unified Silla, 8th century
Location: National Museum of Korea
Status: National Treasure No. 126
The Spotless Pure Light Dharani Sutra is the world’s oldest xylograph, or woodblock print, in existence. It was discovered in a reliquary in Seokgatap, a three-story stone pagoda in Gyeongju, when it was dismantled for repairs in 1966. The exact printing date remains unknown, but as the stone pagoda was built in 751 and the reliquary found with the xylograph has the features of the Silla period, it is estimated to have been printed at the same time.
The scroll varies from 6.7 centimeters (2.64 inches) to 8.0 centimeters in width and is about 620 centimeters long. The Spotless Pure Light Dharani Sutra presents two ways to win healing of one’s sins and a longer life: reading the sutra and keeping it in a small pagoda.
*The photos and text for Treasure Trove are provided by the National useum of Korea. For more information, call (02) 2077-9000 or visit ww.museum.go.kr