Bruno Petzold Scrolls Collection

Edo manuscripts and scrolls on Buddhism from Bruno Petzold
Harvard-Yenching Library


In 1910, a German teacher named Bruno Petzold arrived in Japan where he spent the rest of his life until he passed away in 1949. During these days, Petzold became a minister of Tendai Shu 天台宗 and eagerly collected all kinds of books concerning Buddhism. More than 6,000 Japanese books from his collection have been acquired by the Harvard-Yenching Library around 1951, and about 500 scrolls from the collection have been digitized. 

Bruno Petzold was born in 1873 at Breslauin Silesia (today’s Poland). He studied economics, history, philosophy, religion and art at the University of Leipzig, and political economy at the University of Berlin Kaiser Wilhelm. After working as a journalist in Paris and London 1902 -1907, Petzold became an editor of the newspaper Tageblatt für Nordchina in Tianjin, China in 1908. 

Petzold became interested in Buddhism around 1917, and studied under Shimaji Daitō, Hanayama Shinshō. He received the title of sōzuas Tokushō 徳勝, the Tendai sect in 1923; raised to daisōzu in 1928; and named Sōōjōōin in 1948.

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