One of a thousand
Period: Goguryeo 539
Location: National Museum of Korea
Status: National Treasure No. 119
This image of Buddha is the oldest of all Buddha-prathima (Buddhist statues) engraved with production dates. According to the inscription on the back, the model was one of a thousand Buddhist statues made in a Buddhist hall in Pyongyang, the capital of Goguryeo, ancient Korea, in Chinese year 7, or 539 A.D.. Since it was discovered in Uiryeong, South Gyeongsang, far from its point of origin, the statue provided evidence that there could be discrepancies between an excavation site and the place of manufacture.
The statue was influenced by the Northern Chinese prototype, as evident in the Buddha’s slender face and the fin-like hems of the sacerdotal robe. And yet, its slight smile, thick garment, lotus-shaped foot stand and spirited halos are particular to the Buddhist statues of Goguryeo.
*The photos and text for Treasure Trove are provided by the National Museum of Korea. For more information, call (02) 2077-9000 or visit www.museum.go.kr.