Chapter four stresses the importance of institutions in enabling the reproduction of large numbers of Buddhist texts. It surveys the types of institutions that existed in ancient Japan and argues for the close connection between bureaucracy and ritual practice. It begins with an overview of the process of sutra copying. It then turns to continental precedent before looking at some of the earliest sutra copying projects in Japan and the institutions that sponsored them. It provides a detailed institutional history of a scriptorium at Tōdaiji closely connected to Queen Consort Kōmyōshi but also uncovers numerous other scriptoria managed by a variety of individuals in the capital and provinces, some of relatively small scale. It also addresses projects known as “private copying” in documents at the Tōdaiji scriptorium to show how individuals could use personal connections to utilize state institutions for their own purposes.
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