This rare fragment from an unidentified sutra is written in a seventeen-character format typical of the majority of the Buddhist manuscripts found in the famous Mogao cave sanctuaries at Tun Huang which yielded thousands of early Buddhist writings. Dating to the Sui dynasty (581-618), the paper has a smooth surface, horizontal chain lines, and is dyed yellow with herb juice to prevent insect damage.
The exacting calligraphy is an early kai style executed with traces of li (clerical) script in the structure of each character. The writing is well-balanced and carefully structured with controlled brush strokes.
The use of the "taboo" characters shih and ch'i indicating the second (627-49) and third (650-83) emperors of the T'ang dynasty, implies that the manuscript predates those rulers placing it around 600 a.d.