Home Asia Pacific North Asia S/N Korea Arts & Culture
14th century Goryeo Buddhist painting found in Rome
by Emi Hailey Hayakawa, BTN, Jan 24, 2013
Rome, Italy -- The National Museum of Korea recently found “Buddha Amitabha,” a 14th century Goryeo Buddhist painting in Rome, Italy during a research on the collection of the National Museum of Oriental Art.
The National Museum of Korea (Director Kim Young Na) has been recently working on more official support for the Korean galleries in various foreign museums across the globe. The Goryeo Buddhist painting found in Rome was unearthed during a research on the Korean and Asian collection of the National Museum of Oriental Art by a curator of the National Museum of Korea in October, 2012.
This Goryeo Buddhist painting portrays strong facial features and a traditional red robe patterned with gold lotus flowers, and is estimated to be from the early 14th century. Although there was a slight scratch on the halo, overall the painting was in fairly good conditions.
The Goryeo Buddhist paintings are known for their intricate athestics in the Korean Buddhist Arts, and currently there are only about 160 known artifacts across the globe, and are very rare.
The Buddhist painting that was found is a portrait of the “Buddha Amitabha” who is handing out his right hand to the dead. This portrait is also known as the “Amitaneyong - do” which also means the portrait of where the Amitabha is greeting you.
Moreover, this piece is regarded as a masterpiece with the Amitabha is dressed in a traditional red robe patterned with gold lotus flowers.
The National Museum of Korea states that, “there is a similar Amitaneyong-do at the Guimet Museum in France, and there are similar Buddhist paintings in Jion-ji temple and Zenrin-ji temple in Japan.”
Additionally, a 7th century Seated Maitreya bodhisattva statue on square pedestal was also found. The Seated Maitreya bodhisattva statue on square pedestal is about 8cm tall, rather small, and has the similar jewel crown as the Seated Maitreya bodhisattva statue on square pedestal of the 83rd Korean National treasure. This statue also has a very compassionate and gentle expression with distinct facial features and lines in the garments are all characteristics of the statues of the Three Kingdoms period.
The National Museum of Korea will be working very closely with the National Museum of Oriental Art of Italy to restore the recently found Goryeo Buddhist painting and is planning to open exhibition in the near future.
Furthermore, the National Museum of Korea will strengthen their support to various foreign museums who cannot employ Korean curators and are having a difficult time exhibiting and making use of Korean artifacts.