This Sutra of the Great Deity Tara, a goddess of the Buddhist religion widely popular in Nepal, Tibet, and Mongolia, is a book written on a 4.5x5.0 cm page. It is believed to have been produced in about 1914 using a single animal hair. It has a total of 79 lines of text on a single page, and is handwritten in red and black ink using Gzab script which was used for the printing of religious texts and sutras. It was written by Shagj Sangajav who was a Buddhist teacher (lama) and a member of the first Institute of Scientific Research, the “Institute of Sutra Book and Chronicles”. The book would fill six pages if written in normal size letters.
Mongolians have a rich tradition of creating sacred books in many sizes. Over time this evolved into the application of unique styles and methods for creating the largest and the smallest books of the sacred sutras. This sacred book demonstrates advanced technical and creative skills, as the writing, which is difficult to read with the human eye, was created without the use of special tools.
The book is evidence that the worship of the deity Tara was important in the first part of the 20th century. Its small size may also have contributed to its survival through periods of significant political and religious change in 20th century Mongolia. There are many versions of the Green and White Tara Sutra but this book is rare in terms of style and format and may be the only one of its kind in Mongolia. The Sutra of the Great Deity Tara was registered on the List of Unique and Priceless Cultural Heritages of Mongolia in 2002.
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