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The oldest dated and printed book

Hidden among fifty thousand documents in a cave in Western China was a woodblock print of a sacred Buddhist text with a date of 868CE, making it the oldest printed book we know of. Dr. Susan Whitfield, curator of the Central Asian collections at the British Library in London, tells the story of its discovery.

Photo: Frontispiece, Diamond Sutra from Cave 17, Dunhuang, ink on paper. (Book is held by the British Library).

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2 minutes