A Volume of the Manjushri Namasamgiti (Hymn to Manjushri, Bodhisattva of Wisdom)
Artist/maker unknown, Tibetan, Chinese, Mongolian, and Manchurian
Printing Buddhist books is an expensive but popular method of earning religious merit-the spiritual currency believed to increase one's chances for a better rebirth in the next lifetime. A wealthy, multi-lingual patron commissioned this large looseleaf book, annotated in Tibetan, Chinese, Manchurian, and Mongolian scripts. The red ink, possibly made from cinnabar, costs more than black. Golden yellow silk brocade, a color reserved in China for members of the imperial family, covers the bookends. Printing or donating lavish Buddhist texts like this one is one method for paying for monastic rituals.