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National Treasure 46

Mural Painting in Josadang Shrine of Buseoksa Temple
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Classification National Treasure 46
Name of Cultural Properties Mural Painting in Josadang Shrine of Buseoksa Temple
Quantity 6 faces
Designated Date 1962.12.20
Age Late Goryeo Period
Address Gyeongsangbuk-do Yeongju-si

Depicting six Buddhist deities, Four Guardian Kings, Brahma Deva, and Indra, these mural paintings had been displayed on the inner wall of the Josadang Shrine (National Treasure No. 19) in Buseoksa Temple, which was built to honor Buddhist Monk Uisang (625-702), founder of the temple and Avatamsaka School in Korea. The paintings had been taken along with the wall from the shrine and are currently kept in glass boxes and stored in Muryangsujeon, the main prayer hall of Buseoksa Temple.
Each mural work is about 205 centimeters long and 75 centimeters wide and is painted using red, white, and gold pigments on an earthen wall painted green. The two deities on both sides feature an elegantly voluminous body, whereas the Four Guardian Kings in the middle are stepping on demons, with robust builds and staring eyes. The paintings have been damaged to a rather considerable extent, losing much of its original condition due to repainting by later generations; nonetheless, the remaining dynamic brush strokes provide valuable clues to an outstanding artistic achievement made in Korean Buddhist painting during the Goryeo Period (918~1392).
An old record discovered at the shrine revealed that it was built in 1377, suggesting that the paintings were also produced around that same year. These works are known as the oldest existing Buddhist murals and are accordingly regarded as important assets in connection with Korean art history.