Mumonkan, The Gateless Gate, was originally compiled and published in the first year of Shaoding Period (1228) by Zen master, Wu Men Hui Kai (1183-1260). The book is ranked among Christian Bible and Muslim Koran as one of the most important religious books. It is a collection of Zen Koan (a subject for contemplation in Zen Buddhism, usually one of the sayings or significant incidents of a great Zen master of the past).
Existing published text of Mumonkan is based on a woodblock printed book published by a Japanese Monk by the name of KanYuan in the Yiyou Year of
Yinyong Period (1405)in Japan. There are several slight textual differences between the Japanese version and this 13th Century manuscript. The complete digitized text of this 13th Century manuscript allows scholars to make detailed word-by-word comparison between the commonly-known text and the Mumonkan in its original form shortly after it was first published in the 13th Century.
In addition to the historical significance of text comparison for this important Zen Buddhist book, this manuscript is also an important work of Chinese calligraphy from the 13th Century. This manuscript bears the signature of An Wan Zhu Shi and its calligraphic style is similar to several 13th Century calligraphers such as Zhang Jizhi.