Located on the flank of Tohamsan Mountain in Gyeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do, Bulguksa Temple was founded by Kim Dae-seong in 751 (the 10th year of the reign of King Gyeongdeok of the Unified Silla Dynasty).
According to Samguk yusa (Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms), Bulguksa Temple was built for the parents of Kim’s present life whereas Seokguram Grotto was carved for the parents of his previous existence.
This 1.77-meter-tall Vairocana Buddha, who is said to save all humanity with a benign light, is enshrined in Birojeon Hall of Bulguksa Temple.
Its head has a form of two top shells fixed to each other, displaying a refined technique, and the long rich face looks fleshy.
The thinly expressed robe covers the left shoulder while leaving the right shoulder exposed, revealing the dignified form of the body.
The robe is draped on the left arm and the U-shaped folds are around the front part of the body.
The index finger of the right hand gently covered by the left hand is unlike the posture usually seen on statues of Vairocana Buddha.
The firmly built shoulders, voluminous chest and slim waist of the statue make it an ideal and highly refined work of the Unified Silla Period.
This statue is regarded as one of the three greatest gilt-bronze Buddhist statues of the Unified Silla Period, along with the Gilt-bronze Seated Amitabha Buddha of Bulguksa Temple (National Treasure No. 27) and the Gilt-bronze Standing Bhaisajyaguru Buddha of Baengnyulsa Temple (National Treasure No. 28).