19th century Korean Buddhist painting returns home

By Shim Woo-hyun
  • Published : Nov 5, 2019 - 17:41
  • Updated : Nov 5, 2019 - 17:41

A 19th century Korean Buddhist painting has returned home after being lost more than half a century ago. 

On Tuesday, the Jogye Order, South Korea’s largest Buddhist sect, displayed the painting at the Memorial Hall of Korean Buddhist History and Culture.

From left: The Ven. Wonhaeng, the president of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, and the Ven. Kyungsun, the abbot of Beomeosa, offer prayers in front of “Guardian Deities of Beomeosa Temple” at the Memorial Hall of Korean Buddhist History and Culture, central Seoul, on Tuesday. (Yonhap)

The large-sized 1891 painting by Joseon-era Buddhist monk-painter the Ven. Minkyu, titled “Guardian Deities of Beomeosa Temple,” depicts multiple guardian deities.

The piece, originally owned by Beomeosa, a Buddhist temple in Busan, was taken out of the country between the 1950s and 1960s.

In September, the Overseas Korean Cultural Heritage Foundation came to know that the Buddhist painting would be included in an auction in Los Angeles. On Oct. 6, the foundation won the lot at the auction.

“Guardian Deities of Beomeosa Temple” arrived in Korea on Oct. 30 and underwent conservation at the Central Buddhist Museum. The painting will be returned to Beomeosa on Thursday.

According to officials from the Jogye Order, “Guardian Deities of Beomeosa Temple” has stylistic resemblances to the three altar portraits of Buddha that were returned to the same temple in July 2015 after being obtained at an auction in Zurich.

By Shim Woo-hyun (