Words translated: Chinese

Fo shuo da cheng guan xiang man na luo jing zhu e qu jing 佛說大乘觀想拏羅淨諸惡趣經 (Buddhabhāṣita-mahāyāna-dhyāna-saṃjñāna-maṇḍala-sarvadurbhāva-prasādaka-sūtra)
Fuzhou, 1107 CE

Paper has been used in China for at least 1,000 years, and printing began there at least 500 years earlier than in Europe. The first printed books were mostly religious, reproduced for prayer and devotion. The example shown here was printed from a wooden block and is dated 1107 CE. It is a Buddhist text, translated into Chinese by Faxian, who died in 1001 CE. The book is printed from engraved wood-blocks and made up of sheets of paper pasted together and folded in ‘concertina’ fashion. This is the oldest printed book in Cambridge University Library.


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