A Study on Sakyamuni Platform Paintings in Northern Kyungsang Province During 19 Century
Paying attention to the fact that Sakyamuni Platform Paintings made in the late nineteen century were mostly concentrated in Northern Kyungsang Province and they had been painted throughout the century, this study investigated the changes of Sakyamuni Platform Paintings in Northern Kyungsang Province during the time period.
First of all, this study pointed out that a group of paintings were appearing from the painting works known as Amitabha platform paintings of Northern Kyungsang Province in the 19th century, presumably indicating that the main Buddh image in the paintings could be Sakyamuni. However, such assumption was made by the conventional understanding that Sakyamuni in Hangmachikjiin is the original Sakyamuni and the paintings were named according to Kupyumin (form of hands). The image of Sakyamuni in Sulpubin has been persistently observed in the Buddhist paintings from Goryeo Dynasty to the 17th century of Chosun Dynasty. Although Sulpubin Sakyamuni wasn’t much popular image for the paintings due to the then prevailing Hangmain Sakyamuni, which appeared in the 16th century and widely accepted in the 18th century, it could be confirmed by a Sakyamuni platform painting (Gerchoam, EunhaeTenple) that Sulpubin Sakyamuni was also painted in the 18th century. Therefore, Sulpubin Sakyamuni, which began to be widely loved after the late 19th century, can be regarded as the retro style of Buddha painting.
In the meantime, it holds our attention that there were appearing the images of Buddha in Hangmainsuin in Amitabha Platform Paintings. It doesn’t imply that the hands of Sakyamuni and Amitabha were mixed in the paintings, but suggests that there is a possibility that Naeyouninsuin (the arm formthat stretchs straightly just as cloud comes down to save people), which combines Naeyoung image of Amitabha that advocates salvation for all people and a faith in Sukhavati (the pure land of the Buddha Amitabha) that wishes the rebirth in the land, transformed. The reason why this unprecedented image could be accepted in the paintings was that at that time the painters based their religious belief on Whaumsasang (idea of Avatamska) shared by the disciples of Whansungjian who worked in Northern Kyungsang region.
The images of Hyupsi Buddha in seated position, which started to be sincerely adapted in the Buddhist paintings of the region in the 19th century, can be classified into 2 types by seated posture: Byunhyoung Yoonwangja and Byunhyoung Bankaja. The image of the seated posture was adopted from that of Kwaneumbosalpainting and it was widely diffused to Seoul, Kyunggi, Chungcheong regions, not to mention the entire areas of Southern Kyungsang province, having been influencing greatly on the Buddhist paintings in the 19th and the 20th centuries. The images of a shining light over Buddha (circled shining light on his head and inverted U-shaped light oozing out of his body), which were popular in Gwaebul paintings in the 17th and 18th centuries, started to be adopted as the lights of Hyupsibosal in the Buddha Platform Painting of North Kyungsang province in the 19th century and got widely used for the entire genres of Buddha paintings in the region. The trend seems gradual but to have kept expending to Seoul and Kyunggi areas.
The plinths on which a main Buddha sits on in Baddish paintings of Northern Kungsang region in the 19th century are divided into two categories: the plinth equipped with lotus-shaped seat on a hexagonal pedestaland the lotus stem-shaped plinth that stretches up. The hexagonal plinth can further break down by the height of the plinth. The art works in which painters drew the high seat are rectangle with a long vertical line and vice versa. It tells us that the size of the plinth determines the size and shape of Buddhist paintings. In addition, because of the size of the rear wall facing seated Buddha’s back in small-sized a Royal palace or SmallBuddhist temples, rectangular shape of Buddhist paintings were actively adopted. Also, the lotus stem-shaped plinth, which got popular after the 19th century, seems related to the size of Buddhist paintings.
Through the thorough investigation, this study could identify that Sakyamuni Platform Paintings of Northern Kyungsang Province in the 19th century reflect transitional aspects covering from the late 18th century to the early 19th century and show the regional distinctions only found in that province. These characteristics have something to do with activity boundary of Sabulsan Buddhist monks who painted Sakyamuni Platform Paintings of the region in the 19th century.