Skip Navigation

Heritage Search


Seated Wooden Amitabha Buddha Statue of Baegyangsa Temple, Jangseong

장성 백양사 목조아미타여래좌상 ( 長城 白羊寺 木造阿彌陀如來坐像 )

Heritage Search Detail
Classification Treasure
Name of Cultural Properties Seated Wooden Amitabha Buddha Statue of Baegyangsa Temple, Jangseong
Quantity 1 statue, 1 pedestal, 2 prayers
Designated Date 2020.06.23
Age Joseon Period
Address Jangseong-gun, Jeollanam-do

The Seated Wooden Amitabha Buddha Statue of Baegyangsa Temple in Jangseong was made by three sculptor-monks including Hyeonjin in 1607 (the 40th year of the reign of King Seonjo) to pray for the repose of the deceased royal ancestors. It was made during the movement to rehabilitate and restore Buddhist architectural artifacts carried out in the years immediately following the Imjin War (Japanese Invasions of Korea, 1592-1598), and is the largest of the Buddha statues made before 1610.

Although there is no surviving letter of prayer - which usually explains the background to the production of such a statue or the construction of a temple or pagoda - the handwritten letter found at the bottom of the pedestal contains information on its date of construction and its creators, making it a valuable material for studies on the history of Buddhist sculpture of the seventeenth century. Hyeonjin, the monk who played the lead role in the production of this statue, was perhaps the representative sculptor-monk of the seventeenth century. This statue was made five years ahead of another wooden Amitabha Buddha Statue kept at Wolmyeongam Hermitage in Jinju, which was also made by Hyeonjin in 1612, and is said to be earliest of his works.

Regarding the techniques used in the production of the Seated Wooden Amitabha Buddha Statue, it is noteworthy that wood was used to create the overall form, over which clay was applied to lend it a more natural appearance. One can clearly see the new aesthetic vision that emerged in the seventeenth century in its round, plump face, its imposing shoulders, and the creases in the robe that are expressed naturally along the contours of the body.

This statue is regarded as an important source of information for research on Hyeonjin’s works and the scope of his activities. There are records about the re-application of gold bond powder to the statue on two occasions in 1741 and 1775, and the role of the Dohwaseo (Royal Bureau of Painting) in the repair work. The handwritten letters found at the bottom of the pedestal are also a rarity. In view of all these factors, the Seated Wooden Amitabha Buddha Statue in Baegyangsa Temple should be designated as a Treasure and preserved accordingly.