Go to contents

Embroidered Kasaya disclosed since designated as treasure in 1979

Embroidered Kasaya disclosed since designated as treasure in 1979

Posted May. 18, 2023 07:59,   

Updated May. 18, 2023 07:59


In 44 years since the 19th-century Embroidered Kasaya was designated as a national treasure back in 1979, it has been first released to the press. This carefully crafted artifact of embroidery has the 125 icons of Triratna, the “Three Treasures” of the Buddhist tradition, stitched on silk.

The treasure under preservation treatment was made public on Wednesday by the Cultural Heritage Conservation Science Center under the Cultural Heritage Administration-run National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage in Yuseong-gu, Daejeon. With the prayer of a woman surnamed Park, born in the Year of Muja, depicted on the artifact, the Embroidered Kasaya is presumably designed not as a garment but for the purpose of Buddhist services. Among around 20 embroidered kasayas of the late Joseon era left preserved domestically up to date, this treasure is the only one that covers the whole sacerdotal robe with embroidered icons. Ahn Boyeon, a curator at the Cultural Heritage Conservation Science Center, assessed that it holds substantial significance for research efforts with regard to Buddhist art and the history of costumes.

Even the back side of the embroidery was released publicly, with finely sewed lines on the surface. The rare sight of the treasure was disclosed as the backing paper originally attached to the back was temporarily removed to give it preservation treatment. Embroidered kasayas normally consist of quilted clothes that represent the honor of following the teachings of Buddha wearing ragged clothes. While clothes are sewed together, some parts are left unstitched to make a thin slit, called tongmun, which is noticeably seen on the back side of the treasure. The Cultural Heritage Conservation Science Center is scheduled to release how this embroidered kasaya is treated for preservation in a specially arranged project titled “Restoring Embroidered Kasaya: 1,492 Days in the Work of a Conservator” from May 23 to 25. The Embroidered Kasaya was donated by Heo Dong-hwa (1926-2018), the former head curator of the Museum of Korean Embroidery, to Seoul Metropolitan City.