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2002 articles 1998 articles

A Korean Buddhist illuminated manuscript

Beth McKillop


DURING the selection of manuscripts for loan to the 'Arts of Korea' Gallery which opened in the British Museum in July 1997, a richly decorated Korean Buddhist sutra copied in gold pigment around 1390 was identified, conserved and prepared for display. The manuscript seems to have received little attention since it was acquired by the Department of Printed Books of the British Museum in 1884, as part of a collection of important Japanese, Chinese and Korean editions amassed in Japan by the bibliophile Sir Ernest Satow (i 843-1929). It may be surmised that the volume moved to Japan from Korea between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries, perhaps like so many Korean inventions, treasures and skills, leaving Korea in the course of the Hideyoshi invasions of the 1590s.

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