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Wooden Seated Sakyamuni Buddha Triad of Cheonggoksa Temple, Jinju
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Classification Treasure
Name of Cultural Properties Wooden Seated Sakyamuni Buddha Triad of Cheonggoksa Temple, Jinju
Quantity 3
Designated Date 2010.12.21
Age Joseon Period
Address Gyeongsangnam-do Jinju-si

This Wooden Seated Sakyamuni Buddha Triad is housed in Daeungjeon Hall of Cheonggoksa Temple in Jinju, flanked by two other statues representing Manjusri Bodhisattva and Samantabhadra Bodhisattva, placed to its left and right. As no record related to the creation of this Buddha triad has been discovered, no background information is currently available. It is, however, more or less precisely known that they were made in 1615, based on an inscription added in 1750. The statue of seated Sakyamuni Buddha, the main Buddha of this triad, is well proportioned with a stable seated position. The head has a high-rising top half sculpted with top and middle cudamanis. The forehead on Sakyamuni’s square face is broad. The eyes are half-closed, the nose rather flat and the mouth tightly sealed. The resulting facial expression is quite strict. The cheeks and the chin are fleshy, and the ears, also rather fleshy, have their lobes descending all the way to the chin level, giving the Buddha an overall good-natured face. The torso under the broad shoulders is rectangular in shape. The chest is flat, and the lower belly protrudes somewhat. The Buddha’s right hand is held slightly below the right knee, and the left hand resting on the right foot has fingers bent inward, in the bhumisparsa mudra. The wide and low-rising lotus position in which the right foot is resting above the left knee appears stable. The robe draping from the left shoulder leaves the right shoulder bare, but in a style slightly in departure from the standard left shoulder-hung robe. The top of the inner garment visible on the exposed chest is tied with a string and shows floral-shaped folds. The edge of the left sleeve covers the right foot above the left knee, forming the shape of a flower bud. The robe unfurled over the legs covers them from either side and has handheld fan-shaped folds distributed in four tiers. The two attendant Bodhisattvas seated to his left and right, Manjusri and Samantabhadra Bodhisattvas, are essentially identical to the main Buddha in facial features and bodily proportions, outside the inverted position of the mudra and the way the robe and the inner garments are worn. The two Bodhisattvas have a rather tall topknot of hair, and the rest of the hair runs down from behind the ears and branches, on the shoulders, into three separate bunches, two of which are elliptical in shape, and the one in the middle round in shape. The tall jewel crowns are provided with intricate details, while the bead ornaments are not the most extravagant, consisting only of a pair of small earrings and a bracelet. No record identifying the maker(s) of the Wooden Seated Sakyamuni Buddha Triad of Cheonggoksa Temple has survived. However, the three statues are quite similar, in terms of facial features, bodily proportions and drapery treatment, to the Wooden Sakyamuni Buddha Triad of Gwallyongsa Temple, carved in 1629, by the monk sculptor Hyeonjin. Compared, for example, to the Wooden Seated Amitabha Buddha of Wolmyeongam Hermitage, an early sculpture by Hyeonjin, the Wooden Seated Sakyamuni Buddha Triad of Cheonggoksa Temple stands out for the square and flat face and the robust body; hence, embodying later characteristics that are absent in the former. On the other hand, compared to the Seated Buddha Triad of Gwallyongsa Temple, these characteristics are less salient and stylized in the triad of Cheonggoksa Temple. The drapery folds remain highly natural, and the facial features harmonious. The main Buddha of this triad, measuring 170cm in height, is one of the larger-sized works of Hyeonjin, at least among the surviving works of his, as well as a highly accomplished piece of sculpture, and is considered of great significance for research into the sculptural style of this monk artist.