||Buddhist Texts on Gold and Other Metals in East Asia : Preliminary Observations
Kornicki, PeterBarrett, T. H.
Journal of Asian Humanities at Kyushu University
124 , 2017-03 , Kyushu University, School of Letters, Graduate School of Humanities, Faculty of Humanities
This article focuses on a small number of Buddhist texts that have been produced on metal, including precious metals, in East Asia. This practice is known from documentary and scriptural references but also from finds in what are now Sri Lanka and Myanmar. Once the scriptural references had been translated into Chinese they became available to all parts of East Asia where the Chinese Buddhist canon was the norm. In Korea, the Khitan empire, Japan and elsewhere a few examples have been found of Buddhist texts on precious metals; for the most part it seems that these were buried in the foundations of stupas and pagodas. In most cases the texts were inscribed, but in a few cases they were created using the repoussé technique to produce a whole page at a time. In this article we give preliminary consideration to the production of Buddhist texts on metal in East Asia and ask why there is so much variation and why so many of the texts are incomplete.