With a certificate issued by the Horyuji Temple dated 20th April 44th year of Meiji era, which has been altered to the Taisho era, stating that the hyakumanto and sutra were those originals comissioned by the Emperor given to the person indicated (the name in this case has been cut out) in gratitude for his contribution of 50 yen towards the upkeep of the temple fabric. With the red Horyuji seal
This is one of one million miniature wooden pagodas commissioned by Empress Shotoku in gratitude for the suppression of a rebellion by the Emi and in prayer for the future protection of the realm. Nine hundred thousand were distributed to temples throughout Japan and the remaining one hundred thousand to the Ten Great Temples in and around Nara (then the capital) but they have been dispersed over the centuries and today only the Horyuji retains some of its original allocation. The printed rolls are the oldest datable examples of printing in existence, with the possible exception of a single earlier Korean contender; it remains uncertain, however, whether the blocks were of wood or metal. For similar examples sold in Christie's New York Rooms, see 7 October 1988, lot 52 (The Donald and Mary Hyde Collection) and 16-17 October 1990, lot 501 and in Christie's London Rooms, see 13 November 2002, lot 61.