Scroll from a set of the Lotus Sutra (Hokekyō), Heian period, 12th century, Japan, handscroll; gold and silver on indigo-dyed paper, 10 1/16 in. x 33 ft., Metropolitan Museum of Art A search for indigo dye brought me a glimpse of these stunning treasures. While indigo is common as a clothing dye and (often now synthetic) indigo is worn all around the world as a near religious love of blue jeans, these Buddhist works on indigo-dyed paper are anything but common. Lotus Sutra In the 11th century, many sponsors valued these higher class of sutra, written in gold and silver inks on indigo-dyed paper as an insurance of their own salvation. Salvation for some can be a rather expensive bartyr, evidently. Donations at times assumed monumental proportions: five thousand scrolls necessitated the importing of professional scribes and artists from Kyoto, and took 10 years to complete. The scrolls were dedicated the year of the donor’s death. Despite the staggering volume of production, the quality of many of these scrolls is exquisite. The text is written in alternate lines of gold and silver ink, and the illuminations are evocative, almost ethereal, the deities engulfed in diaphanous silver clouds. Since there were over five thousand scrolls commissioned, and it is only natural that they became repetitive, especially if the artists, assembled in specialized sutra workshops, were working under the pressure of a deadline – to be completed before the death of the patron. In this environment, artists lacked the leisure to be inventive, and images were reduced to stereotypes. The shortcuts of a mass-production system give these exquisite scrolls a remarkable sameness. – Navin Kumar Gallery Unknown (Japanese)Anoku-Fu Sutra, from 1183 to 1185gold and silver ink on indigo paper Unknown (Japanese)Anoku-Fu Sutra, from 1183 to 1185gold and silver ink on indigo paper Unknown (Japanese)Anoku-Fu Sutra, from 1183 to 1185gold and silver ink on indigo paper The Buddhist Book of Illuminations (unknown date) Other works on Indigo… Qurʾan folio on blue parchment, North Africa or Near East800–900AD (300 years before the Sutras above). Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Luohan with Fantastic AnimalsGold and silver ink on indigo paper (unknown year)10 1/4 x 7 1/4 in Love Indigo? You too can buy your way to eternal salvation by joining the Indigo Workshop March 7 & 14. We’ll know your spirit is saved by the blissful smile on your face, and the sight of your deep blue hands.