MR1381 Imprimerie manuelle de Dergu‚

MR1381 Manual printing press of Derge

Photo : Matthieu Ricard

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The largest manual printing press in history is to be found at Derge, in eastern Tibet. It houses 270,000 engraved wooden blocks containing Buddhist teachings and texts about the history of Tibet, medicine, and other traditional sciences. The printing works was founded in 1729 and miraculously escaped the destruction that reduced 6,000 Tibetan monasteries to dust. The printing works has been active again for the last twenty-odd years and employs some one hundred people. A two-man team can print more than a thousand pages a day. One of them inks the block and lays down a sheet of paper; the other runs the roller over it twice, rapidly, to press the paper on to the engraved block, and then lifts off the engraved sheet. Red is used for the Buddhist canon (the 103 volumes of the Kangyur containing the teachings of the Buddha) and black for all other texts. This monk, on pilgrimage from Nepal, has placed a block on his head as a sign of respect and in order to receive its blessing. July 2005. Purchase online a professional quality photographic print, signed by the hand of Matthieu Ricard, buddhist monk, photographer and author. He has also been the French interpreter of His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama since 1989. Some of the photographs in his collection are printed in limited edition, signed, numbered and delivered with a certificate of authenticity.

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