These main statues in the Daeungjeon Hall of Beomeosa Temple are Sakyamuni (Historic Buddha), Maitreya (the Future Buddha) and Dipamkara (the Buddha of Fixed Light), symbolic of the prediction of enlightenment in the future.
According to documents discovered in the process of re-gilding, the statues were made in the 18th year of Emperor Shunzhi of Qing, corresponding to 1661, or the second year of King Hyeonjong’s reign during the Joseon Dynasty.
A group of sculptors worked together; they included Huijang, Bohae, Gyeongsin, Ssangmuk, Noeyeong, Sinhak and Cheongeon.
The chief sculptor, Huijang, was a leading sculptor of his time.
He was active mostly in Jeolla-do and Gyeongsang-do Provinces in the mid-to-late 17th century, and this triad is assumed to have been made when his carving style had fully matured.
He is known to have worked with Cheongheon, who carved the Wooden Seated Sakyamuni Buddha Triad and Four Standing Bodhisattvas of Ssanggyesa Temple, Hadong (Treasure No. 1378), in 1639.
He also worked with Seungil, who carved the Wooden Amitabha Buddha Triad at Sudoam Hermitage of Cheoneunsa Temple in 1646.
In the 1650s, Huijang gained the title of the Great Zen Master and carved the Buddha of Daeunam Hermitage in Cheongdo in 1654.
The faintly smiling statues look gentle and compassionate but also majestic and dignified.
The body proportions are appropriate.
The robes are simply expressed with straight lines that seem strong and orderly, and flow down to form symmetrical fan shapes around the knees, a style often identified with Huijang and his school.
The triad shows a high standard of artistry.
It is also important historically as records on their production found inside the Statues provide clear information regarding when they were made and by whom.