THE DIAMOND SUTRA
No one is sure who Wang Jie was or why he had The Diamond Sutra printed. But we do know that on this day in 868 A.D.—or the 13th of the 4th moon of the 9th year of Xiantong in Jie’s time—he commissioned a block printer to create a 17-and-a-half-foot-long scroll of the sacred Buddhist text, including an inscription on the lower right hand side reading:
“Reverently made for universal free distribution by Wang Jie on behalf of his two parents.”
Today, that scroll is housed at the British Library and is acknowledged not only as the oldest dated printed book in existence, but also the oldest copyright-free work as well.
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