- The Cultural Heritage Administration website provides comprehensive information on 16 Goryeo Buddhist paintings in the collections of 8 American museums-
The Cultural Heritage Administration (Administrator Chung Jae-suk) and the Freer and Sackler Galleries (Director Chase F. Robinson) have simultaneously opened on their respective websites in September 21st the digital catalogue "Goryeo Buddhist Painting: A Closer Look" that features Goryeo Buddhist paintings in collections throughout the United States and their detailed information.
* Goryeo Buddhist paintings website: https://archive.asia.si.edu/publications/goryeo/
* The Freer and Sackler Galleries are the Smithsonian's museums of Asian art located in Washington, D.C., which opened to the public in 1923 and have in their collections 771 cases, 952 objects of Korean art out of their total collection of more than 40,000 objects. The Korean Gallery opened its doors in 1993 and reopened in 2011.
The Freer and Sackler Galleries have developed the website for comprehensive information on sixteen Goryeo Buddhist paintings in the collection of eight American museums under the financial support from the Cultural Heritage Administration after making seven years of tireless effort into the paintings since 2013 undertaking detailed research, high resolution imaging, expert interpretation, and symposiums.
* Collections for the 16 Goryeo Buddhist paintings: Freer and Sackler Galleries (3), Metropolitan Museum of Art (5), Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (3), Asian Art Museum, San Francisco (1), Brooklyn Museum (1), Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (1), Cleveland Museum of Art (1), Rhode Island School of Design Museum (1)
The website consists of six menus including 'Objects,' 'People,' 'Essays,' 'Resources,' 'Selected Bibliography,' and 'Pattern Library.' ▲ In the 'Objects' menu, sixteen Goryeo Buddhist paintings can be found in high resolution images and are searchable for information, such as title, deity, and museum. ▲ In the 'Essays' menu, expert essays written by Park Chi-sun (Yong-in University), Jeong Eunwoo (Dong-A University), and Curator Keith Wilson (Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery) are available in English and Korean, allowing viewers to experience the scholarly value of these paintings.
In particular, ▲ the 'Pattern Library' offers a better understanding of the patterns that uniquely characterize Goryeo Buddhist paintings that can be distinguished from works produced in China or Japan.
The website is the result of great dedication from Professor Chung Woothak (Professor Emeritus, Dongguk University) and Curator J. Keith Wilson (Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery). Both experts have shared a common principle that Goryeo Buddhist paintings are one of the world's most important artworks through their 30 years of scholarship. Based on this belief, they have taken on challenging tasks of high resolution imaging, interpretation and translation of the artworks, credit line research, and website revision for seven years.
Their efforts have created the website that provides high resolution, detailed images and resources that allow viewers to have a close look at the rare paintings. "The fact that America's national museum with worldwide recognition has produced a website solely dedicated to Goryeo Buddhist paintings is in itself a groundbreaking event, but the project may be by far the most remarkable result of a support project by our own institution to a museum abroad," explained Professor Chung Woothak.
"What makes this catalogue special is the high resolution, detailed images that allow viewers to have a close look at these rare paintings...visual documentation captures close details of motifs, materials, and techniques that uniquely characterize thirteenth- and fourteenth- century Korean Buddhist paintings and distinguish them from similar works painted elsewhere in East Asia," said Curator Keith Wilson.
"This on-line catalogue represents an important international collaboration, and demonstrates how museums can digitally advance research on a rare group of Korean artworks," says Chase F. Robinson, Dame Jillian Sackler Director of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art at the Smithsonian. "We hope our bilingual resource introduces these incredibly beautiful and important works of art to new audiences in the West."
The website is the first case for overseas cultural heritage (182,080 objects/Sept. 2019) in which heritage information on a specific subject is integrated into a single platform. The project has been pursued from the research stage to focus on the promotion of the heritages so that viewers worldwide can better understand and have an easier access to the value of Goryeo Buddhist paintings as artworks and as heritages.
The Cultural Heritage Administration is committed to pursue a joint research with the Freer and Sackler Galleries into techniques and materials for sustained conservation of Goryeo Buddhist paintings. In addition, promotional platforms will be planned, such as websites, so that more people have opportunities to appreciate the artistic and historical value and importance of our overseas cultural heritage.
Attached: List of sixteen Goryeo Buddhist paintings featured on the website