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Cheonbuljeon Hall of Daeheungsa Temple, Haenam

해남 대흥사 천불전 ( 海南 大興寺 千佛殿 )

Heritage Search Detail
Classification Treasure
Name of Cultural Properties Cheonbuljeon Hall of Daeheungsa Temple, Haenam
Quantity 1 building
Designated Date 2013.08.05
Address 400-0, Daeheungsa-gil, Haenam-gun, Jeollanam-do

Daeheungsa Temple is located on a wide open mountainous basin with a stream against the beautiful scenery of Duryunsan Mountain (also called Daedunsan Mountain) in Gurim-ri, Samsan-myeon, Haenam-gun, Jeollanam-do. The temple consists of traditional buildings arranged to form several groups in harmony with the natural features of the site, creating the beauty of freedom and aberrance that can rarely be found in other historic temples built according to the traditional layout. As mentioned in Daedunsaji (The History of Daedunsa Temple), the precincts of the temple are largely divided into two areas -- south and north -- with a stream called Geumdangcheon flowing between them. In the Northern Section are the temple’s main prayer halls such as Daeungjeon Hall, Myeongbujeon Hall, Eungjinjeon Hall, and Sansingak Shrine as well as two dormitories called Baekseoldang and Cheongundang; in the Southern Section are Cheonbuljeon Hall, Yonghwadang Lecture Hall, Gaheoru Gate, Bonghyanggak Dormitory, and Donggukseonwon as well as the temple’s administrative office. Beside the Southern Section is Pyochungsa Shrine with affiliated buildings along with Daeheungsa Museum; behind them is Daegwangmyeongjeon Hall. As the central dharma hall of Daeheungsa’s Southern Section, Cheonbuljeon is standing on a lofty foundation of hewn rectangular stones to face Gaheoru, a single-story five-kan structure (a unit of measurement referring to the distance between two columns), with simple gable roof, providing an entrance to the courtyard almost enclosed by four buildings, including two buildings flanking the central hall, Bonghyanggak Dormitory on the left, and Yonghwadang Lecture Hall on the right and the Gaheoru Gate. The courtyard is rather small compared with that in front of Daeungjeon Hall but creates great harmony with the buildings around it in terms of size and proportion with Cheonbuljeon Hall featuring a stately three-kan by three-kan structure characterized by hipped-and-gabled roof with multiple bracket clusters underneath. Cheonbuljeon, which was renovated in 1813 to be the most prominent structure in the Southern Section of Daeheungsa Temple, has a detailed history of renovation and enshrinement of a thousand Buddhas as recorded in the book Ilbon pyohaerok (Record of Drifting at Sea in Japan, authored by a Buddhist monk of the Joseon Dynasty named Punggye Hyeonjeong in 1821). Architecturally, the building exhibits an elaborate ground plan designed to enshrine effectively a thousand Buddha statuettes. The composition of the brackets; slanted and grid ceilings; and windowed doors. The structure and decorative details of these architectural elements have been widely praised and often compared with those of the nearby heritage items designated as Treasures by the Korean government, i.e., Daeungjeon Halls of Mihwangsa (1754), Bulgapsa (1764), and Bulhoesa (1808) Temples. Art historians generally agree that Daeheungsa’s Cheonbuljeon Hall is one of the most important works of its kind remaining today, historically and architecturally.