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Ink Painting and the Rinpa Tradition

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Amitabha and Kshitigarba

Unidentified Artist

Period:
Goryeo dynasty (918–1392)
Date:
first half of the 14th century
Culture:
Korea
Medium:
Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk
Dimensions:
Image: 37 1/4 × 21 7/8 in. (94.6 × 55.6 cm) Overall with mounting: 72 3/8 × 29 5/8 in. (183.8 × 75.2 cm) Overall with knobs: 72 3/8 × 31 3/4 in. (183.8 × 80.6 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1913
Accession Number:
13.5
  • Description

    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).

    The combination seen here of Amitabha Buddha and the bodhisattva Kshitigarbha (Amita and Jijang in Korean)—on the right and left, respectively, standing under one canopy—is highly unusual and the only known example of this iconography in Goryeo Buddhist painting. A more typical composition features these two figures alongside Avalokiteshvara (Gwaneum), forming a triad in which Amitabha is the central deity.

    Both Amitabha and Kshitigarbha enjoyed a strong following during the Goryeo dynasty due to the popularity of Pure Land Buddhism. Amitabha Buddha offered the promise of easy salvation and entry into the Western Paradise; Kshitigarbha offered guidance and redemption in death and the afterlife.

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