Now numbering less than 150 worldwide, Buddhist paintings created during the late Goryeo dynasty in Korea illustrate hopes for peace and good fortune in this world and for salvation in the afterlife. These fourteenth-century images, commissioned as a show of religious merit and produced on an intimate scale appropriate for private devotional use, epitomize a golden age in Korean Buddhist art.
Goryeo Buddhist Paintings: A Closer Look presents three rare icons from the Freer and Sackler collections that never before have been displayed together. Rendered in rich mineral pigments augmented with gold, the silk surfaces of these complex paintings have darkened with age. In this exhibition, the three works are joined by photographic details taken by Buddhist painting specialist Chung Woothak, which show the masterly brushwork and superimposed patterns that are difficult to distinguish in the now-darkened originals. The photographs also reveal the materials and techniques that typify this special type of Buddhist icon.