sangokubutsu 三国仏
KEY WORD : art history / sculptures
Lit. three countries Buddha. Buddhist statues made from the fourth to the seventh centuries in Korea. At that time, Korea was divided into three kingdoms; Konguryo (Jp: *Koukuri 高句麗), Paekje (Jp: *Kudara 百済), and Silla 新羅. This period of Korean history is known as the Sangoku jidai 三国時代 (Three Kingdoms period), and Buddhist statues made during this period are known as sangokubutsu. The oldest of these kingdoms is the Konguryo, which developed in the third century in the northern part of the Korean peninsular. Buddhist culture was received and absorbed from China, and Buddhist statues were produced showing a very strong Chinese influence. The Paekje Kingdom developed in the southwest part of the Korean peninsular around the mid fourth century, and here too Buddhist statues were produced with a strong Chinese influence, received from the Chinese Fuyo culture. The Silla Kingdom, with its capital in Kyongju, the east- central part of Korea, also became important in the mid-fourth century. Its culture developed closely in line with northern China, and there was direct interchange with the Chinese Ryo and Chin cultures, as well as with Kanan province (South China). An example of sangokubutsu, considered to be a masterpiece of ancient Silla culture, is the bronze hankazou 半跏像 image (half-cross-legged Buddha) in the Tokujuguu 徳寿宮 Museum (Toksugung Museum), Seoul.


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