Rock-Carved Buddhas at Ch’ilburam Hermitage in Namsan Mountain, Kyŏngju
Issue: Vol 37 No. 2 (2020)
Journal: Buddhist Studies Review
On the Namsan Mountain of Kyŏngju, can be found the Ch’ilburam rock-carved Buddhas. The seven Buddha and bodhisattva images are significant because of their coexistence in one space and their unique arrangement. The Ch’ilburam sculptor was inspired by the Chinese central pillar caves that the sculptor had knowledge of, and the opportunity to visit. These archetypes of the ‘central pillar cave’ layout exhibit sutra-inscribed walls. By adopting and adapting these architectural elements, Ch’ilburam replicates the primary function of the Chinese cave temple. Ultimately, the Ch’ilburam site is a compromise between the desire for a rock cave temple, and the intractable geology of Korea, which is unsuitable for these purposes. As for the production period, there is a strong case for the view that the Ch’ilburam Buddha triad and four-sided stone pillar were created simultaneously in the early eighth century.
Author: Young-ae Lim
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