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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Korean
Creator Name-CRT: Korean
Title: Buddha Shakyamuni Preaching at Vulture Peak
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1700
Creation End Date: 1799
Creation Date: Choson period, 18th century
Creation Place: Korea
Object Type: Paintings
Materials and Techniques: Colors, ink, and gold on hemp cloth
Parts and Pieces: Hanging scroll mounted as a panel
Dimensions: 59 x 70 in. (149.9 x 177.8 cm)
AMICA Contributor: Asia Society
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1990.001
Credit Line: Asia Society: Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Acquisitions Fund
Context: The Lotus Sutra (Saddharmapundarika Sutra), a compilation of several different texts, some dating as early as the 1st century CE, is one of the most influential works in the extensive Buddhist canon. The principal text of the Chinese Tientai sect, the Lotus Sutra is also revered by other sects of Buddhism, both for its promise of universal enlightenment and because its worship and study are believed to provide the benefits of longevity, health, and prosperity in everyday life. Representations of Shakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism, preaching the Lotus Sutra at Vulture Peak are some of the most important images associated with this text. In this Korean painting of the famous theme, the Historical Buddha is seated on a square throne attended by bodhisattvas, monks, and the four heavenly guardians of the north, south, east, and west. The three groups--bodhisattvas, monks, and guardians--symbolize the levels of sanctity of the various divinities in the complicated pantheon of later Buddhism. The names inscribed in the cartouche beneath the Buddha's throne are probably those of the donors who contributed to the creation of this painting.
Large-scale banner paintings like this one became popular in Korea during the 17th and 18th centuries, when Buddhism became widespread in part because of the loosening of government prohibitions against it. The size and iconography of this painting suggest that it was originally an important image in a monastery. Most likely it was made to hang behind a statue of Shakyamuni and would have been displayed in a hall dedicated to the Lotus Sutra or in some other major building within a temple complex.
Several features date this painting to the 18th century. The relative two-dimensionality of the deities and the subdued blues and reds are characteristic of Korean Buddhist painting from the 17th through 19th centuries. The perfunctory treatment of the details, such as the decoration on the robes of the divinities and the floral scrolls in the halo of the Buddha, is more specific to art of the 18th century and reflects the interest in immediacy, spontaneity, and vernacularization that is the hallmark of Korean art of the time.
Related Document Description: Kim, Hongnam. The Story of a Painting: A Korean Buddhist Treasure from the Mary and Jackson Burke Foundation. New York: Asia Society, 1991, pp. 10, 47.
Related Document Description: Treasures of Asian Art: Selections from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, The Asia Society, New York. Hong Kong and Singapore: Hong Kong Museum of Art and National Museum Singapore, 1993, pp. 186-87, 188-89.
Related Document Description: Treasures of Asian Art: Selections from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, The Asia Society, New York. Tokyo: Idemitsu Museum of Arts, 1992, pp. 99, 141-42.
AMICA ID: ASIA.1990.001
AMICA Library Year: 1999
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright, Asia Society
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