Important Cultural Property
(Some of the works of theSanskrit version of Heart Sutra and Vijaya Dharani
Ink on pattra (palmyra leaves used for writing upon) / ink on paper
Heart Sutra: 4.9x28.0 Dharani: 4.9x27.9/10.0x28.3
Late Gupta period/7-8th century
Tokyo National Museum
These are sutras written in Sanskrit characters on palm leaves. Two palm leaves are dried and the ends of the leaves are cut. Rule marks are impressed horizontally on the two leaves and then the Heart Sutra (Hannya-shingyo) is copied on the first leaf and the first line of the second leaf, followed by "Usnisa Vijaya Dharani Sutra" (Buccho-sonsho-darani) on the second leaf. In ancient India, copies using palm leaves were popular until documents using paper became used and thus sutras copied on palm leaves were handed down. Such sutras influenced neighboring nations. The two holes were originally for binding with strings. These are highly valued as two of the oldest sutras on palm leaves.