New Digital Collection: Japanese Scrolls

The Harvard Law School Library’s newest digital collection just went live. Presenting: Digitized Scrolls from the Japanese Manuscript Collection, 1158-1591.


The Japanese Manuscript Digital Collection is comprised of a set of twenty-two medieval legal manuscripts and annotated facsimiles in scroll form called komonjo. Komonjo—literally “old documents”—are remnants of day-to-day legal transactions. Spanning a nearly 450 year period, these documents frequently focus on land and property issues, though they can also represent edicts and judicial rulings. Part of a large donation presented to the Harvard Law Library in 1936, these komonjo represent one of the finest collections of their type outside Japan.

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