Art117C_Spring2019_5d_Goryeo_Sculpture.pdf - Goryeo...

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Goryeo Sculpture
Life-size Statue of Taejo Wang Geon (태조왕건, 太祖王建) found near his tomb outside of his capital near modern Gaeseong (개성), near Pyongyang, North Korea.Taejo Wang Geon endorsed the policy of promoting Buddhism so that it might serve to protect the state. In his “Ten Injunctions” he stated that “The great task of or country should be based on the protecting power of the Buddhas. Therefore, build monasteries for the Seonjong (Meditation school) and Gyojong (Textual or doctrinal school), send out teachers of different levels, and let them carry out their work.”Buddhism penetrated deeply into all layers of society, from powerful officials and military dictators, to peasants and slaves.Dedicating images and constructing temples were of prime importance to the royalty, and all sorts of images were made that reflected stylistic influences from both Chinese and non-Chinese influences, while retaining an unique Korean aesthetic.
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The development of Goryeo sculpture can also be divided into three sub-periods: Early, Middle, and Late.Most early Goryeo (918 1170) Buddha images are colossal iron or stone sculptures. Iron Buddha images were popular with regional lords of the late Unified Silla period and with powerful families who had been provincial gentry during that time.Also during the late United Silla period, seven branches of the Seon sect (Chan/Zen) of Buddhism established temples in the remote mountains. The main images in these temples were made from iron, perhaps because iron was readily available, cheaper, and more durable than bronze, and with iron it was possible to create larger images than with bronze. The iron images are all seated figures cast in the piece-mold technique and have a powerful and imposing appearance. In the Goryeo period, the iron images were covered with gesso and then gilded to cover the seams from the mold.Sakyamuni, 10thcentury, early Goryeo, cast iron, 9 ½ feet HFrom the ruined temple site at Hasachang-ri (하사창리), Dongu-myeon, Gwangju-gun, Gyeonggi Province National Treasure #332
Vairocana, 10thcentury, early Goryeo, cast ironMost of the Unified Silla iron images were of one of the forms of Vairocana and display the wisdom-fist mudra. This was the main image of the Hwaeom sect, the main image in Seon temples.
Taejo Wang Geon brought provincial tastes to court when he became king and as a result, monumental iron Buddhas were produced in the capital region. These Gigantic images demanded the attention of the populace and became visible illustrations of the power and authority of the court.Early Goryeo sculpture continued the style of the Unified Silla. This large iron Sakyamuni Buddha was created for the Capital Region, as had the main Buddha of Seokguram, the symbol of a new dynasty. Almost ten feet high, it is the largest extent iron image and was cast in separate pieces as were other large statues from the end of Unified SillaSakyamuni, 10thcentury, early Goryeo, cast iron, 9 ½ feet From the ruined temple site at Hasachang-ri, Dongu-myeon, Gwangju-gun, Gyeonggi Province

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