National TreasureHokuzansho (Manual on Courtly Etiquette)

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  • Ink on paper
  • Height 30.3cm Width 1279.0cm
  • Heian period/11th century
  • Kyoto National Museum
  • B甲416

The manuscript Hokuzansho, vol. X, is the only surviving portion of the record of annual events in the Imperial Palace, affairs of state, and other matters which was kept by Fujiwara Kinto (966-1041). The two letters in kana among the twenty-five thousand documents found on the reverse side were written during the several years preceding 1001. They are truly invaluable as the oldest extant letters in kana and as proof that continuous cursive script in kana-gana had developed by that time.