Rong Xinjiang. The Earliest Extant Example of Woodblock Printing: the Precept Certificate of the 29th Year of Kaiyuan (741 A.D.) // Pis'mennye pamiatniki Vostoka. Vol. 18, no. 3 (46), 2021, pp. 118–126.
In this paper, the present author focus on the three printed images of Buddha on the precept
certificate from the Dayun Monastery of Dunhuang preserved in St. Petersburg (Дх.02881+Дх.02882).
It is the earliest extant example of woodblock printing, with a definite date the 9th day of the 2nd month
of the 29th year of Kaiyuan 開元 (A.D. 741), which has long been ignored by the specialists on the
history of printing. The certificate was given the monk Daojian from the Great Anguo Monastery from
the capital Chang’an, as the representative of the royal monastery. The precept certificate with printed
Buddha images has great significance in the history of printing. Based on the facts that Sinicized
monasteries in Central Asia and Japan should have the same institution as in Dunhuang and Chang’an,
we can assume the certificate with the same woodblock printing was very likely to be spread to the
Western Region (Central Asia) as well as to Japan.