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Buddhist Painting in Yeongsanjeon Hall of Tongdosa Temple (The Eight Great Events)

통도사 영산전 팔상도 ( 通度寺 靈山殿 八相圖 )

Heritage Search Detail
Classification Treasure
Name of Cultural Properties Buddhist Painting in Yeongsanjeon Hall of Tongdosa Temple (The Eight Great Events)
Quantity 8
Designated Date 1990.09.20
Age The 51st year of the reign of King Yeongjo of Joseon (1775)
Address Tongdosa Museum 108, Tongdosa-ro, Habuk-myeon, Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do

This type of painting is called palsangdo, meaning “painting of the eight great events”; it depicts the eight significant scenes of the life of Buddha from birth to his entering nirvana after cultivating his spiritual sense. Measuring 233.5 cm long and 151 cm wide, this painting was painted by several artists in 1775 (51st year of the reign of King Yeongjo of the Joseon Dynasty) and is now set in a frame and hung on the wall of Yeongsanjeon Hall. The first section of this painting depicts Sakyamuni Buddha riding a white elephant to come to the world of suffering from Tushita Heaven; the second section depicts Queen Maya giving birth to Sakyamuni through her side in a garden at Lumbini. In the third section, Sakyamuni realizes the frailty of life after seeing the hard and painful life of ordinary people living outside the castle; thus, he leaves the palace despite his parents’ objection in the fourth section. The fifth and sixth sections deal with his spiritual exercise. He disciplines himself on a snowy mountain with the wise hermits, overcoming all temptations and threats. The seventh section depicts his first sermon at Deer Park, whereas the eighth section is about his entering Nirvana under the twin sala tree. Each section portrays the long and epic story of Sakyamuni Buddha very concisely and skillfully. Since this painting has been preserved very well, and its exact production date is known, it is regarded as a very important material for the research on the Buddhist paintings made in the Joseon Period.