Item Details

Rock-Carved Buddhas at Ch’ilburam Hermitage in Namsan Mountain, Kyŏngju

Issue: Vol 37 No. 2 (2020)

Journal: Buddhist Studies Review

Subject Areas: Religious Studies Buddhist Studies

DOI: 10.1558/bsrv.40698


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

View Original Web Page

References :

Dafangguangfu huayanjing (大方廣佛華嚴經 Flower-adorned Sūtra T.9:278).

Jingang boreboluomi jing (金剛般若波羅密經 skt. Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā-sūtra, Diamond Perfection of Wisdom Sūtra T.8:235).

Ponwŏnyaksagyŏnggojŏk (本願藥師經古迹 T.38:1770).

Samguk Yusa (三國遺事 Legends and History of the Three Kingdoms T.49:2039).

Wugoujingguang datuoluonijing (無垢淨光大陀羅尼經 Dharani Sūtra of Immaculate and Pure Light T.19:1024).

Yaoshiliuliguangrulai benyuan gongdejing (藥師琉璃光如來本願功德經 Skt. Bhaiṣajya-guru-pūrva-praṇidhāna-viśeṣa-vistara, Sūtra of Merits and Virtues of the Past Original Vows of Medicine Master Vaidurya Light Tathagata T.14:450).

Yaoshirulai niansong yigui (藥師如來念誦儀軌 Ritual Manual of Invocating Medicine Buddha T.19:0924A).