Important Cultural PropertyLao-Tzu Tao Te Ching (Canon of the Path and the Virtue), volume 1 and 2, with the date of hand-copying September 26, Ōan 6 (1373) written in postscript

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  • 2 volumes
  • Ink on paper
  • Main pages of each volume 25.6x18.9
  • Nanbokuchō period/14th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • B-3110

 `Roshi Dotokukyo' (Tao Te Ching Sutra of Lao Tzu) is a book written by Lao-tzu, a philosopher in the Spring and Autumn periods, and comprises over 5000 letters in two volumes: "Dokyo" in the first volume and "Tokukyo" in the second volume. However, it is said that the original book was not divided into two volumes and that the names of "Dokyo" and "Tokukyo" were derived by taking the first letter of each volume. It is sometimes called simply Roshi (Lao-tzu) or Dotokukyo (Tao Te Ching Sutra). This book and `Soshi' (Chuang-tzu) constitute representative books by Taoists. Dokyo and Tokukyo together contain 81 chapters. The philosophy of Chuang-tzu and that of Lao-tzu were integrated into "Taoism" and had a significant impact on the culture of China and Japan.
 According to the postscript, this transcription was created on September 26, 1373 and constitutes the oldest existing transcription of the sutra. It was designated an important cultural property on January 28, 1964.