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Samyutagama Sutra, chapter 25

Unidentified Artist

Period:
Northern Song dynasty (960–1127)
Date:
11th century
Culture:
China
Medium:
Handscroll; ink on paper
Dimensions:
Image: 9 5/8 in. × 21 ft. 8 3/4 in. (24.4 × 662.3 cm) Overall with mounting: 9 7/8 in. × 23 ft. 11 13/16 in. (25.1 × 731 cm)
Classification:
Calligraphy
Credit Line:
Bequest of John M. Crawford Jr., 1988
Accession Number:
1989.363.2
  • Description

    Sutra writing developed its own distinctive tradition of regular script in which individual characters retained the squat, fleshy proportions and compact strokes of early clerical script. In this scroll, comprising 325 columns of standard script, the emphatic thickening of vertical strokes also reflects the scribe’s knowledge of the Tang calligrapher Yan Zhenqing (709–785).

    Although the scroll is traditionally dated to the Tang dynasty (618–907), a Song date is confirmed by its provenance. The first line of text identifies the scroll’s place of origin as the Guanghui Monastery, a Chan (Zen) Buddhist temple in Zhejiang Province noted for its fine handwritten sutras and high-quality paper. The temple was renamed Guanghui (“boundless kindness”) in 1008, so the scroll cannot date before that year. Since Yan Zhenqing’s style was especially popular during the early Song, the scroll may be dated stylistically to the eleventh century.

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
39914:1

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