This explains the Japanese red ink notation, which is commonly seen in early Chinese documents collected by Japanese. After publication, several Japanese and Chinese editions started to surface based on the 1405 edition. The book started to be widely circulated among those interested in Buddhism throughout Japan and China.
When the western world became interested in Buddhism through Japanese influence, Mumonkan became a very important subject of study. All English translation were based on the Japanese 1405 wood block book or its later edition, this is why the Japanese name, Mumonkan, instead of Chinese name, Wu Men Guan, is used in English. There are several slight textual differences between the Japanese version and this 13th Century manuscript. The complete digitized text of this 13th Century manuscript now at the online museum allows scholars to make detailed word-by-word comparison between the commonly-known text and the Mumonkan in its original form.
In addition to the historical significance of text comparison among scholars interested in Buddhism, this manuscript is also an important work of Chinese calligraphy from the 13th Century. This manuscript is signed by An Wan Zhu Shi and its calligraphic style is similar to several 13th Century calligraphers such as Zhang Jizhi. This special exhibition displays the entire 70 page manuscript in clear, digitized, close-up photographs. Viewers of this online exhibition can enjoy Mumonkan text word-by-word in its original Chinese character of the 13th Century.
About i4uuu Collection Museum
i4uuu Collection Museum is a museum established by the internet conglomerate, i4uuu Group. The i4uuu Collection consists of more than 2000 important Asian art works collected over 20 years. The Collection is known for its holdings of Asian sculpture, East Asian painting and calligraphy, oriental ceramics and art from Buddhism. Notable art works are Original Zen Mumonkan Manuscript, paintings by Toyo Sesshu, Kano Tanyu, Kano Motonobu , Chinese bamboo brush holder by Zhu Sansong, and a massive Asuka Period (7th Century) bronze Buddha’s hand.