The particular fascicle which Chen Jinjie donated resources to help print contains a brief but very well known scripture called the ), which has been translated and studied by the Buddhologist Diana Paul.
Much more research remains to be done on this rare item - I was not able to fully investigate the backgrounds of all the individuals mentioned above, and there may be additional donor notes that I missed, so it is possible that by further researching the backgrounds and life histories of these individuals, one would be able to figure out when they might have all been in the same region around the same time.
This would allow us to better fix the printing date and possibly also determine where the woodblocks were carved - possibly under the auspices of a monastery that was frequented or patronized by all of these local officials.
So, I took a few photos and attempted to decipher these notes.
In a stroke of luck, it turned out that my initial reaction was correct.
From these materials, I learned that Chen Jinjie was originally from Yongchun 永春 in Quanzhou prefecture, Fujian province.
He passed the civil service exam and earned his 進士 degree in 1232, after which he held a few different positions in the Zhedong 浙東 circuit (near Shaoxing in present-day Zhejiang Province).Following the information given in the CBDB record, I was able to look him up in a biographical dictionary of Song dynasty figures, which provided references for two local gazeteers that made mention of Chen.As both of these gazeteers had been digitized and were available through the Chinese Text Project, I was able to find them fairly easily.The marginalia were acknowledgments of donor contributions, and they contained information that allows us to more accurately date this book.The first note, which was printed on the first page of this text, read 泉州陳晉接追薦亡室孺人葉氏捨四片, which I tentatively translate as "Chen Jinjie 陳晉接 of Quanzhou 泉州, as a donation on behalf of his late wife, the lady Madame Ye 葉氏, offers four " My lucky streak continued: I visited the China Biographical Database (CBDB) and entered in the name Chen Jinjie, and discovered that Chen Jinjie was in fact a minor official and thus there existed some historical information about him.I was very interested when recently a colleague from Green Library, David Jordan, alerted me to the existence of several Chinese and Japanese items within the Gunst Collection, also known as the Morgan A. As I was browsing through the short list of East Asian materials belonging to this collection, I was intrigued by one item in particular, which was described as an eleventh-century print of a Chinese Buddhist scripture.