Goryeo Buddhist Paintings: A Closer Look

February 25, 2012 – May 28, 2012

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
1050 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC

Sublevel 1 Floor Plan

Numbering fewer than 150 worldwide, Buddhist paintings created during the late Goryeo dynasty in Korea illustrate hope for peace and good fortune in this world and for salvation in the afterlife. Three rare icons from the Freer and Sackler collections that have never been displayed together are on view. Rendered in rich mineral pigments augmented with gold, the silk surfaces of these complex paintings have darkened with age. Photographic details of the three works taken by Buddhist painting specialist Chung Woothak show the masterly brushwork and superimposed patterns that are difficult to distinguish in the now-darkened originals. The photographs also reveal the materials and techniques that typify this special type of Buddhist icon. These14th-century images epitomize a golden age in Korean Buddhist art.