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A Study on the form of Sila Buddhist Pagodas and the pagoda reliefs of Vajrapani

Kim Ji Hyun 1

1동국대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper considered the meaning of the pagoda relief of Vajrapani, which is sculptured on Sila Buddhist pagodas, in the form and the structural relationship of a Buddhist pagoda. From among existing Buddhist pagoda reliefs, the Images of Vajrapani is an icon manufactured in the earliest period. On the left and right of the four-sided altar of the first body of the Bunhwangsa(Bunhwangsa temple) stone pagoda created in 634, a total of eight the Images of Vajrapanis are placed in pairs. This pagoda is a masonry stone pagoda created by brick-shaped piling stone materials; thus, its appearance is similar to a brick pagoda. Also, although it is a stone pagoda, it may be a Buddhist pagoda of the brick pagoda group. The Bunhwangsa stone pagoda has an altar and an actual stone gate. Accordingly, if an icon is sculptured, the Images of Vajrapani, which played the role of a doorkeeper among various statues, may be the most appropriate; however, it is too natural and plain to conclude that the Images of Vajrapani was placed simply in the role of a doorkeeper on the relief of the stone pagoda at Bunhwangsa, which was established as a monumental Buddhist temple after Queen Seondeok rose to the throne. Sila, which adopted Buddhism as the official religion the latest among three kingdoms, highlighted consistently the direct relationship with India, the birthplace of Buddhism, along with the endowment of an image of Sila as a Buddhist land. The high point may be a factor that the name of the father of Queen Seondeok can be compared with Baekjeong, her mother’s name can be compared with Mayaro, and Queen Seondeok can be compared with Gotama Siddhartha. In other words, Sila under the rule of Queen Seondeok becomes a nation of Buddha. It may not be a coincidence that there appears an affinity between the stone pagoda of a Buddhist temple established at the time of the coronation of Queen Seondeok with such symbolism and an Indian stupa. A masonry stone pagoda, which requires more effort and financial resources than a brick pagoda even though it can be established as a brick pagoda, may be thought of in the continued context of working on creating legitimacy which demonstrates that Sila is a Buddhist land as the Buddhist pagoda in awareness of the Indian stupa. It cannot be denied that a brick pagoda and the sculpture style of the times in China had a direct effect on the type of the Bunhwangsa stone pagoda and the Images of Vajrapani, the symbolism of an Indian stupa, and the emphasis on the subsequent legitimacy also cannot be excluded. Through this, the altar of the Bunhwangsa stone pagoda and the Images of Vajrapani can be connected to the formation of a stupa that borders the Buddhist pagoda on which the sarira is enshrined and the remaining space. Furthermore, it is possible to identify indirectly that the Bunhwangsa stone pagoda had the character of an early Buddhist stone pagoda, which was revered as a symbol of sarira faith. Beginning in the United Sila period, there appears newly a general type stone pagoda of the regular style, which is represented by the Gameunsaji stone pagoda. Provided that the general type stone pagoda of the regular style is a new type of Buddhist pagoda, the brick pagoda, wooden pagoda, and masonry stone pagoda before the United Sila period may be considered to be old fashioned Buddhist pagodas. Many more Images of Vajrapani reliefs were created in the old fashioned Buddhist pagodas compared with the new type of Buddhist pagoda. This is closely related to the structural change of a general type stone pagoda of the regular style that appears after the United Sila period. That is, as the size of the first body becomes smaller than for previous Buddhist pagodas, there is a lack of space for sculpturing. This caused a formative disharmony with the Images of Vajrapani. Also, the omission of an altar and the replacement of this with a door plate along with the absence of an internal space provide a fundamental reason why the Images of Vajrapani, which played the role of a doorkeeper at the first body later, did not have to be established. This is in the same context that the Images of Vajrapani was created in the Buddhist pagoda in the brick pagoda group, and disproves that the Images of Vajrapani is a relief closely related to the type of Buddhist pagoda. Furthermore, the Images of Vajrapani exhibits a regional characteristic which is confirmed in the time area and Andong, where brick pagodas are well preserved, along with time, which was barely sculptured in Buddhist pagodas after the early 9th century. This is because the Images of Vajrapani, which was prepared as a pagoda relief, is a relief that appeared in the form of the early Buddhist pagoda. The early Buddhist pagoda is directly related to regional limitation, namely to the Gyeongju area, which showed rapid acceptance of Buddhism, and time, which does not appear after the early 9th century. Along with the prevalent faith of the times and scriptural idols, the expansion of the 9th century brick pagoda type stone pagoda nationwide brought about the result that the Images of Vajrapani was abandoned as a relief.

Citation status

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