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Wooden Seated Indra and Brahma of Cheonggoksa Temple, Jinju
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Classification Treasure
Name of Cultural Properties Wooden Seated Indra and Brahma of Cheonggoksa Temple, Jinju
Quantity 2
Designated Date 1995.12.04
Age Late Joseon Period
Address Gyeongsangnam-do Jinju-si

The Indra and the Brahma were originally the images of gods in Brahmanism and Hinduism. After the advent of Mahayana Buddhism, however, they were regarded as gods that can guard Buddhism; thus, they have kept an important position as the image of gods in Buddhist art, together with the image of Four Guardian Kings. According to the book Samguk Yusa (History of the Three Kingdoms), they have been painted, not sculpted, in Korea. They were mainly discovered in the Buddhist paintings of the Joseon Dynasty. The statue at Cheonggoksa Temple is the only sculpture found in Korea. The image of Four Guardian Kings has an austere, fearful look, whereas the images of the Indra and the Brahma give a merciful impression like the image of Bodhisattva. In the case of Buddhist painting, the Bodhisattva is holding things in its two hands to express their function symbolically, and its face is painted in golden color. In many cases, the Indra and the Brahma are depicted to be joining their hands in prayer, and their faces are painted in white. Unlike the general characteristics of Buddhist paintings, the statues at Cheonggoksa Temple are expressed in a multi-dimensional style. They do not have their hands joined together in prayer, and the pleats of their robes are depicted differently from those in Buddhist paintings. Indra and Brahma can be commonly found in the Buddhist paintings dating back to the late Joseon Dynasty, but those of Cheonggoksa Temple are the first to be placed as standalone statues. The carving techniques show the style of the late Joseon Dynasty, and they are distinctly different from those of China or Japan.