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Geungnakbojeon Hall of Muwisa Temple, Gangjin

강진 무위사 극락보전 ( 康津 無爲寺 極樂寶殿 )

Heritage Search Detail
Classification National Treasure
Name of Cultural Properties Geungnakbojeon Hall of Muwisa Temple, Gangjin
Quantity 1 Building
Designated Date 1962.12.20
Age The 12th year of the reign of Sejong of Joseon (1430)
Address Muwisa Temple, 308, Muwisa-ro, Seongjeon-myeon, Gangjin-gun, Jeollanam-do

Muwisa Temple was built by the renowned Buddhist monk Wonhyo in 617 (the 39th year of the reign of King Jinpyeong of the Silla Dynasty) under the name of Gwaneumsa Temple. However, it was repaired and rebuilt on a number of occasions, and was renamed as Muwisa. Geungnakbojeon Hall, the oldest building of Muswisa Temple, was built in 1430 (the 12th year of the reign of King Sejong of the Joseon Dynasty), and measures three kan (a unit of measurement referring to the distance between two columns) at the front and three kan at the sides. The hall features a gabled roof, with eaves bracketed on supporting pillars that are round and thicker in the middle than at the ends. The elaborately-carved bracket arms show a high degree of refinement.
The temple’s Amitabha Buddha Triad used to be enshrined in Geungnakbojeon Hall along with twenty-nine mural paintings. Today, however, only one of the twenty-nine paintings remains there, while the rest are kept in the nearby exhibition hall.
According to a legend about the paintings, upon the completion of Geungnakbojeon Hall, an old man entered the hall, and requested that no one look inside it for forty-nine days. On the forty-ninth day, however, the head monk of the temple broke the promise and looked inside the hall. At that moment, a blue bird painting the eyes of the Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva flew away in surprise with the brush in her bill. Maybe that is why the eyes of the Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva in the painting have no pupils.
While curved beams were the preferred form in temple buildings of the Goryeo Period, most of the beams and girders in this hall are straight, achieving the balanced simplicity characteristic of the early Joseon Period.