Chinese album of the Life of the Buddha


A woodblock-printed work depicting and describing scenes from the life of the Buddha, including beautiful hand-coloured illustrations.

What is the format of this item?

This item currently exists as four concertina volumes of illustrations and a fifth volume containing text that has been rebound with a Western-style leather cover. The work would have originally been compiled as four volumes with texts and images interspersed. These volumes are all woodblock-printed but the illustrations later had colours added by hand, probably sometime in the late 19th century.

What is the content of this item?

Through a series of texts and illustrations, this work depicts events from the life of the historical Buddha, including his conception, birth, enlightenment, death and various encounters. Although previous versions have contained as many as 410 illustrated scenes, this is a shorter but high-quality work containing 208 scenes. It was compiled from 1787 to 1794 by the Manchu prince Yongshan and also features a colophon from 1808 by another prince, Yufeng, reflecting the official support of Buddhism in the Qing court at this time.

Full title:
Shijia rulai yinghua shiji釋迦如來應化事蹟 (‘Events during and traces from the incarnation of Tathāgata Śākyamuni’)
1808, China
Chinese woodblock printed book
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library
Or 13217

Full catalogue details

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