Wooden Seated Statue of Three Buddha In Beomeosa Temple, Busan, and Hui-Jang's Status
Beomeosa temple which is located in Geumjeong-gu, Busan, is one of the temples that have been maintaining its competent status since its establishment in Unified Silla Period. The main dharma hall, especially, is one of a few remaining structures of mid Joseon period. Within the main dharma hall, the wooden seated statue of three Buddha created in mid Joseon Dynasty is enshrined. The statue was created by seven sculpting monks including Hui-jang and its details are recorded in the Bulsanggimun(The Record of Buddhist Statues, 佛像記文)that has been separately kept by the temple.
Hui-Jang, a monk and a sculptor of Buddhist statues was active during the period of mid and later Joseon Dynasty. The preceding studies resulted that Gumi Sudasa temple's Wooden Seated Amitabha Statue of 1649, Gumi Wongaksa Temple's Wooden Seated Bodhisattva Statue of 1649, Jinan Geumdangsa Temple's Wooden Seated Statue of Three Amitabha of 1650, Cheongdo Daeunam's Wooden Seated Amitabha Statue of 1654 were the creations of Hui-Jang. Through the recent research on the designation of cultural properties, we could understand about ten years of Hui-Jang's activities as a sculpting monk including the creations of Busan Seonamsa temple's Buddhist statue in 1658 and Busan Beomeosa temple's Buddhist statue.
For many years, Hui-Jang's work on the Buddhist statues has depicted; a pretty thick side on the upper garment, a special emphasis on the right shoulder's wimple as a feather, a wrinkle between the legs that are spread, and a wrinkled sleeves toward the knees. Hui-Jang's noticeable features are also presented in Tongdosa temple's hall of the medicine Buddha and hall of the pure land of Amitabha, and it has the same features with those created in 1650's.
In 1638, Hui-Jang began his activities as an assistant monk for painting. His activities flourished up to the creation of Beomeosa temple's statue in 1661. Hui-Jang's activities took place in and around the provinces of Gyeongsang-do and Jeolla-do. It has been confirmed that there were sculpting monks who followed the idiom of Hui-Jang. There is only a slight differences in the facial features, the proportion of body, and carving techniques where sacerdotal robe becomes thinner and softer; however, the other sculpting monks like Bo-Hae and Ji-Hyeon followed the Hui-Jang's style, and it is assumed that Hui-Jang's style led differently during the mid and later 17th-century than the early 17th-century. Namely, those Buddha statues created during the latter period of Joseon Dynasty either by Hui-Jang or bears the Hui-Jang's idiom could be located within the provinces of Gyeongsang-do and Jeolla-do. If there are increases in the research works and studies on such topic, then it will be possible to approach the issue of sect which is one of concerned topics in the study of Buddha statues, which created during the latter period of Joseon.