Skip Navigation

Heritage Search


Rock-carved Seated Buddha at Golguram Hermitage, Gyeongju

경주 골굴암 마애여래좌상 ( 慶州 骨窟庵 磨崖如來坐像 )

Heritage Search Detail
Classification Treasure
Name of Cultural Properties Rock-carved Seated Buddha at Golguram Hermitage, Gyeongju
Quantity 1 Buddha statue
Designated Date 1974.12.30
Age Late Unified Silla
Address San 304, Andong-ri, Yangbuk-myeon, Gyeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do

This seated Buddha figure is inside a grotto on a tall rock cliff, on which is perched Golguram, a Buddhist hermitage near Girimsa Temple. This grotto is one of twelve total grottos found at this cliff that were created from a natural cave, and is the one located at the highest elevation. ‘Golgulseokgul (Golgul Grotto)’, a Joseon-era painting by Jeong Seon (pen-name: Gyeomjae), depicting this grotto, shows an antechamber. Today, only faint traces on the rock mass indicate its former existence. The head of the Buddha figure is topped by a tall usnisa (a protuberance symbolizing supreme wisdom) at the center, in the shape of a hair knot. The face has a well-defined contour and two eyes that end in thin slits. The lips are thin, and the nose is elongated. The facial features reveal an advanced degree of stylization, compared to previous eras. Unlike the face projecting a good sense of volume and depth, the body is rather two-dimensional. The broad shoulders are almost level to one another. Parts of the neck and the upper area of the chest are damaged. Garment folds are expressed in parallel lines distributed at regular intervals. There are V-shaped patterns near the armpits, meant to render curved body lines. The mandorla created by directly carving into the rockface consists of a nimbus with lotus flowers and an aureola surrounding the body of which only the flamed edges are still distinguishable. This Buddha figure, with a body lacking volume and depth and garment folds in shallow parallel lines, is reminiscent of the Stone Seated Vairocana Buddha and Wooden Mandorla of Chukseosa Temple, Bonghwa (Treasure No. 995), dating from 867, and is estimated to go back to late Unified Silla.