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Avadana-sutra, volume 6 in small regular script
XB1992.0002
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

The copying of Buddhist sutras and the private patronage of this practice were both considered a form of personal devotion and a way to attain spiritual merit. Handed down over the centuries, this valuable Avadana sutra was previously held in the collections of the imperial family of the Qing dynasty. The sutra is written in a small regular script that is elegant and well balanced and that places the emphasis on even brushstrokes. Known as jingshengshu, this writing style differed from the established calligraphy tradition of that time and called for the use of a shorter and thicker brush.

History of the Object
Sutras – collections of dialogues and discourses from classic Mahayana Buddhism – first attracted worldwide attention and academic interest when the Dunhuang Library Cave housing ancient manuscripts, paintings, and artifacts was discovered in 1900. Since that time, the dispersal of thousands of the manuscripts among libraries and institutions around the world following a succession of international archaeological expeditions has prompted a new field of research known as “Dunhuang Studies”. Although the vast majority of sutra manuscripts have been found at the Library Cave, the practice of transcribing sutras was not limited to Dunhuang, but was carried out at several other sites along the old Silk Road.

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Type
Book 
Materials
Ink on paper 
Measurements
Width 1489.5 cm Length 26.8 cm  
Creator name
Anonymous 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
China 
Geography
China 
Time period
AD 7th century ~ AD 10th century 
Creation date
7th Century - 10th Century; 618 – 907 (Tang dynasty) 
Function
Buddhist sutra 
Acquisition
The item was donated to the Hong Kong Museum of Art in 1989 by a local collector Mr. Low Chuck-tiew (1911 – 1993) who was a renowned collector of Chinese painting and calligraphy. 
Copyright
Collection of the Hong Kong Museum of Art, Leisure and Cultural Services Department, Government of the HKSAR All rights reserved  
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Government property, The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region 
Museum
Hong Kong Museum of Art 
Credit line
Xubaizhai Collection of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy 

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