Goryeo Buddhist Painting: A Closer Look

Thursday, March 9, 6:00 pm, Korean Cultural Center in Washington, DC
Friday, March 10, 9:30 am–4:30 pm, Ripley Center Lecture Hall

Specialists have identified 150 or so authentic Goryeo Buddhist paintings worldwide. The few that bear dated inscriptions indicate that this tradition was restricted to the late thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Not made for grand temple halls, in which monumental murals were painted directly on the walls, these detailed images were intended for closer viewing in more intimate settings. Modern scholars believe that these images were produced both to aid private meditation and to symbolically guide mortal souls to paradise at death. The prevalence of Pure Land deities and visions of their paradise supports this understanding. The paintings’ visual appeal results from precise draughtsmanship, saturated mineral pigments, extensive use of gold, and detailed designs representing woven textile patterns.

This scholarly gathering celebrates the launch of Goryeo Buddhist Painting: A Closer Look, a digital catalogue that offers current scholarship on sixteen examples in US museum collections. The symposium seeks to contextualize the works culturally and art historically and offers new insight into provenance and transmission. Speakers also discuss pioneering scientific studies of materials and painting and mounting techniques.

The event is sponsored by the Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea. The keynote and opening reception are hosted by the Korean Cultural Center.

An English-language version of all papers will be available at the Keynote and symposium.
Although the Keynote and symposium are free, registration is required.



Thursday March 9

Korean Cultural Center in Washington, DC

6:00 pm
Keynote Goryeo Buddhist Painting in the East Asian Context (in Korean and English)
Prof. Chung Woothak, Dongguk University, Seoul

Friday March 10

S. Dillon Ripley Center Lecture Hall, Smithsonian Institution

9:30 am
9:45 am
Panel 1: Goryeo religious context

  • Late Goryeo Buddhist Faith and Devotional Imagery: Subjects and Iconography (in Korean)
    Jung Byungsam, Sookmyung Women's University, Seoul
  • Court Support of Buddhism (in English)
    Jeong Eunwoo, Dong-A University, Busan
  • Illustrating the Perfect Enlightenment Sutra (Won’gakgyeong byeonsang do): Prints, Hand copies, and the Avatamsuka Sutra (in English)
    Kim Ja Hyun, Dongguk University Museum, Seoul

10:45 am

11:15 am
Panel 2: International connections
  • Chinese Landscape Painting and Goryeo Buddhist Imagery (in Japanese)
    Itakura Masaaki, University of Tokyo, Tokyo
  • Goryeo Buddhist Paintings and their Transmission to Europe (in English)
    Jeong-hee Lee-Kalisch, Free University of Berlin, Berlin
  • Goryeo Buddhist paintings and their transmission to the United States (in English)
    J. Keith Wilson, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

12:15 pm
12:45 pm
Lunch break
2:00 pm
Panel 3: Physical analysis
  • Materials and Mounting Styles (in English)
    Park Chi-sun, Yong-In University, Seoul
  • Pigments: Analysis of Amitabha with Eight Great Bodhisattvas at the Tokyo University of the Arts (in Japanese)
    Arai Kei, Tokyo University of the Arts, Tokyo
  • Lessons of Infra-Reflectography: Avalokiteshvara with Willow Branch at the Kagami-Jinja (in Japanese)
    Shirono Seiji, National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo

3:00 pm
3:30 pm
Concluding remarks

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