SEVERAL fragmentary printed almanacs dating from the ninth century were among the documents discovered in 1900 in Cave 17 at the 'Thousand Buddha' cave temple site near Dunhuang, north-west China. One fragment, now in the British Library, bears an inscription stating that it was printed in the East Market of the then Chinese capital (see fig. i). Yet an official decree of 835 had stipulated that the private printing and possession of almanacs was forbidden by law.
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