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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Manuscript fragment of Da zhidu lun (Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom Sutra)

Photo: Scott Leen

Manuscript fragment of Da zhidu lun (Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom Sutra)

7th-8th century

This Buddhist sutra fragment is testament to the refined calligraphic skills of sutra copyists working nearly one and a half millennia ago. High-quality paper was imported to the desert oasis of Dunhuang from Chang’an (modern Xi’an), the capital of the Tang dynasty. The yellow color is both from age and an insect-repelling dye that helped its preservation.
Ink on paper
4 3/8 x 3 5/8 in. (11.1 x 9.2 cm)
Gift of Lucy L. Lo
Provenance: Acquired by James C. M. Lo (1902-1987, Luo Jimei) and Lucy Lo (b. 1920, Liu Xian), New Jersey, ca. 1943-44, when they found the fragments exposed in the sands of the Dunhuang Caves; to Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington, 2022
Photo: Scott Leen
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Chronicles of a Global East, Oct. 20, 2022 - Oct. 22, 2023.
Published ReferencesChen Huaiyu, “Pulinsidun suo sian Luoshi cane Dunhuang Tulufan wenshu” (Manuscripts from Dunhuang and Turfan in the private collection of James and Lucy Lo that I examined), Dunhuangxue: Pan Chonggui xiansheng shishi zhounian jinian zhuanji (Dunhuang Studies: Special number to mark the one-year anniversary of the death of Pan Chonggui) 25 (2004), pp. 419-41.

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