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Wooden Seated Sakyamuni Buddha Triad of Seongjusa Temple, Changwon

창원 성주사 목조석가여래삼불좌상 ( 昌原 聖住寺 木造釋迦如來三佛坐像 )

Heritage Search Detail
Classification Treasure
Name of Cultural Properties Wooden Seated Sakyamuni Buddha Triad of Seongjusa Temple, Changwon
Quantity 3
Designated Date 2011.12.23
Age 1655
Address 191, Gomjeol-gil, Seongsan-gu, Changwon, Gyeongsangnam-do

This Buddhist statue triad represents the Buddhas of the Three Ages, namely, Sakyamuni Buddha, Bhaisajyaguru Buddha, and Amitabha Buddha, examples of which were widely produced starting in the early 17th century. The document inside one of the statues indicates that the carving of the three Buddhist statues began in the spring of 1655 and ended in the fall of the same year with the placement of votive objects inside the statues taking place shortly after. The names of monk-sculptors who participated in the creation of this triad include Nokwon, Jihyeon, Chanin, Hyejeong, Doseong, Myeongsin, Geungseong, Myeongan, Hakryun, Injong and Insin. Nokwon, the head monk-sculptor for this project, is known to have been otherwise involved in the creation of the Sakyamuni Buddha Triad of Jangansa Temple in Gijang (1659) and the Wooden Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva and Ten Underworld Kings of Seongheungsa Temple in Ungcheon (1673), also in the capacity of head monk-sculptor. The triad of Seongjusa Temple is currently the oldest of the extant sculptures by Nokwon and is, therefore, considered highly important for the understanding of his body of work. All three statues making up this triad have a head which has no ushnisha and is covered, in an irregular manner, with curls that were made separately and glued. Their faces are oval in the shape of a trapezoid with a longer top edge, and the forehead is broad, and the chin tapered. The half-closed eyes are soft, and the nose has an almost flat bridge, but quite a sizeable lower part. The lips over a fleshy chin are mellow, and the cylindrically-shaped neck has three parallel lines, in insignia of Buddhahood. The thick robe with folds rendered in forceful lines is eminently indicative of Nokwon’s sculptural style. These characteristics can be also observed in the Sakyamuni Buddha Triad of Jangansa Temple in Gijang also by Nokwon, but postdating this triad by three years. The triad of Seongjusa Temple, however, is far superior to the latter, in terms of quality of sculptural details, as well as religious feelings and aesthetical appeal. The earliest as well as arguably the best work of Nokwon, the Sakyamuni Buddha Triad of Seongjusa Temple casts important light on his art and career, while being also highly useful for dating other mid-17th century Buddhist sculptures.