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Kshitigarbha

Unidentified Artist

Period:
Goryeo dynasty (918–1392)
Date:
first half of the 14th century
Culture:
Korea
Medium:
Hanging scroll; ink, color, and gold on silk
Dimensions:
Image: 33 1/4 × 14 1/2 in. (84.5 × 36.8 cm) Overall with mounting: 79 × 25 3/8 in. (200.7 × 64.5 cm) Overall with knobs: 79 in. × 27 1/4 in. (200.7 × 69.2 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Gift of Horace Havemeyer, 1929
Accession Number:
29.160.32
  • Description

    A compassionate bodhisattva who rescues sentient beings from being thrown into hell or purgatory, Kshitigarbha (Jijang in Korean) became enormously popular during the Goryeo period. A key figure in Pure Land Buddhism, Kshitigarbha was often depicted singly and in the guise of a monk—with a shaved head, wearing a monk’s robe, and holding his standard attributes, a staff and a wish-fulfilling jewel (cintamani). This exquisite scroll is a well-preserved and wonderfully representative example of Goryeo Buddhist painting. Some of its hallmarks are the deity’s graceful facial features and slender fingers, the red and green colors of the robe, and the sumptuously elegant gold decoration.

    Very few Korean paintings made prior to the twelfth century survive. Buddhist paintings of the Goryeo dynasty were renowned for their delicacy and refinement. Pigments were applied to both the back and the front of the silk, intensifying their hues and luminosity (though some have faded over time and from exposure to light).

  • See also
    Who
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    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
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