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National Treasure

Stone Standing Amitabha Buddha of Gamsansa Temple, Gyeongju

경주 감산사 석조아미타여래입상 ( 慶州 甘山寺 石造阿彌陀如來立像 )

Heritage Search Detail
Classification National Treasure
Name of Cultural Properties Stone Standing Amitabha Buddha of Gamsansa Temple, Gyeongju
Quantity 1 Item
Designated Date 1962.12.20
Age Unified Silla
Address National Museum of Korea, 137, Seobinggo-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul

Located in Wolseong-gun, Gyeongsangbuk-do, Gamsansa Temple was built in 719 by a dedicated Silla Buddhist named Kim Ji-sung who wanted his religious devotion to move Buddha to bring peaceful rest to his deceased parents and protect the king and his royal family. He is said to have commissioned a Maitreya bodhisattva (currently National Treasure No. 81) for his mother and this Amitabha Buddha (National Treasure No. 82) for his father. Both stone statues are now stored in the National Museum of Korea in Seoul. This stone statue of the standing Amitabha Buddha is highly regarded for the harmonious balance and proportion and realistic rendering of the details, including the facial features that many experts believe are closer to those of Korean people in Silla (57 BC – 935). The Amitabha statue features a plump face with imposing body covered with a rather thick robe depicted with abundant U-shaped folds. The almond-shaped mandorla behind the Buddha contains two halos -- one around the head and the other spanning the entire body -- divided by three lines and edged by a flame motif. The pedestal on which the Amitabha stands consists of two tiers, one in the shape of a lotus blossom with upturned petals and the other shaped like a downturned lotus blossom, supported by an octagonal base. Today, art historians regard the statue as one of the finest examples of the “idealistic realist style” developed by Unified Silla artisans. The fact that it has a clear record of who made it for what and when also makes it a very important source of knowledge of the Buddhist art that developed in Korea.