Huntington to Display Never-Shown 11th-Century Book
|Unknown author(s), Dafangguang fo huayan jing, fascicle 45, 1085. © The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens. Burndy Library Collection, Gift of Dibner Family|
The Huntington Library's oldest printed book is about 370 years earlier than the Gutenberg Bible and has never been on public view. That will change this spring, as the 31-ft.-long, woodblock-printed Scripture of the Great Flower Ornament of the Buddha will be featured in "Printed in 1085," in the Library's West Hall (Apr. 29 to Dec. 4, 2023).
Consisting of a collection of aphorisms attributed to the Buddha, the Scripture was just part of the Song Dynasty's stupendous encyclopedia, the 5850-volume Great Canon of the Eternal Longevity of the Changing Reign Period. The Scripture was acquired not by Henry Huntington but by Bern Dibner, as part of his collection devoted to science and technology. The core of Dibner's collection, previously housed at MIT, was donated to the Huntington in 2006.
|Front cover of Scripture of the Great Flower Ornament of the Buddha. © The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens.|
He gave a quarter of his collection to the Smithsonian.
His story is fascinating. Interested parties may see it at ...