Dialogue on the Threshold

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Monday, 25 May 2015

The library of Nara

Apud Japonios, in civitate Narad, vel Nara, templum est augustissimum, quod Cobocui nominatur, Xacae sacrum, a cujus latere Bonzii, eorum sacerdotes, sua atria et cubicula habent, quorum unum, 24. columnis rotundis innixum, Bonziorum bibliothecam continet, tanta librorum copia refertam, ut ipsae etiam fenestrae, libris, quasi lateribus, obstructae sint. 

Jean Lomeier, De bibliothecis liber singularis, second edition, Utrecht, Ex officina Johannis Ribii, Bibliopolae, 1630, p. 352.

In the land of the Japanese, in the city of Narad, or Nara, there is a most majestic temple, called Cobocui [Kōfuku-ji?], sacred to the Buddha, next to one of whose walls the Bonzes, their priests, have their halls and their cells, one of which, resting on twenty-four round columns, houses the library of the Bonzes, crammed with such a multitude of books that even the windows themselves are obstructed with them, like walls.

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