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Exhibition featuring Joseon’s Amitabha painting opens in Seoul

Exhibition featuring Joseon’s Amitabha painting opens in Seoul

Posted January. 29, 2020 07:26,   

Updated January. 29, 2020 07:26


The Amitabha descends from the heaven on a cloud with Mahasthamaprapta. A variety of musical instruments, such as Korean mandolin, janggu, and trumpet shell, are flying around like they are dancing. This is the Painting of Amitabha Buddha Triad from the Joseon Dynasty, which was drawn on a silk fabric. It is the first painting unveiled by the National Museum of Korea since the museum redecorated its Buddhist Painting Gallery.

The National Museum of Korea is displaying 23 antiquities, including paintings, scriptures, and the manuscripts of scriptures under the theme of “Pure Utopia, the Land of Happiness” at its Buddhist Painting Gallery.

A Buddhist niche, presumably made during the early days of the Joseon Dynasty, depicts the world where the Buddha lives. The view of the Buddha and the two Bodhisattvas positioned in the center with an auspicious tree and a castle in the background and birds over the pond at the front is mesmerizing.

Also displayed at the exhibition is the Buddhist painting “Giving amrita to save the starving ghosts,” which was used when praying for lost souls to go to heaven. The painting features starving ghosts, who are suffering from hunger and thirst, and the Avalokitesvara (Buddhist Goddess of Mercy), who leads the lost souls to heaven. The exhibition opens until July 12.

Jong-Yeob JO jjj@donga.com