Rare scroll on display at Shanghai Library

Wang Jie
Shanghai residents have a rare opportunity to see one of the 6,890 scrolls made between 1148 and 1173 that were discovered in 1933 and later saved from the Japanese.
Wang Jie

A rare 19-meter-long sutra, a scroll of "Zhaocheng Jinzang," a copy of the first woodcut version of Tripitaka "Kaibaozang" in the Song Dynasty (960-1279), is on display at Shanghai Library.

It is one of the 6,890 "Zhaocheng Jinzang" scrolls made between 1148 and 1173. Only some 4,900 scrolls exist today. 

The scrolls were discovered in Guangsheng Temple in Zhaocheng, Shanxi Province, in 1933, and later named after the place.

In 1942, the Japanese sought to grab the sutra scrolls in Zhaocheng, but they were saved by Chinese guerrillas and moved outside the temple during the war of resistance against Japanese aggression.

“'Zhaocheng Jinzang' is not only a national treasure, but a World Cultural Heritage as well,” said Xie Xiaodong, curator of the exhibition. “Today the National Library of China keeps nearly 4,800 scrolls, and Shanghai Library has 12 scrolls.”

Zhou Deming, vice director of Shanghai Library, said this was a rare opportunity for the public to see the precious relic, a culmination of cultural, historical and document values.

The exhibition ends on Thursday.

Rare scroll on display at Shanghai Library
Ti Gong

Visitors examine the rare scroll at Shanghai Library.

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