US gal­leries open web­site for Go­ryeo Bud­dhist paint­ings

The Korea Times - - NATIONAL - By Kwon Mee-yoo [email protected]­re­atimes.co.kr

Bud­dhist paint­ings from the 918-1392 Go­ryeo King­dom are con­sid­ered some of the world’s most del­i­cate re­li­gious art­works. Cur­rently, about 160 Go­ryeo Bud­dhist paint­ings are ex­tant across the globe and the Freer and Sack­ler Gal­leries of the Smith­so­nian In­sti­tu­tion joined hands with the Cul­tural Her­itage Ad­min­is­tra­tion (CHA) to present them in the United States in de­tail on a ded­i­cated web­site.

The Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sack­ler Gallery to­gether form the Smith­so­nian’s na­tional mu­se­ums of Asian art, hous­ing the largest Asian art re­search li­brary in the U.S.

The Freer and Sack­ler Gal­leries de­vel­oped a dig­i­tal cat­a­logue “Go­ryeo Bud­dhist Paint­ing: A Closer Look,” fea­tur­ing high res­o­lu­tion images and com­pre­hen­sive in­for­ma­tion on 16 Go­ryeo Bud­dhist paint­ings in the col­lec­tion of eight Amer­i­can mu­se­ums with fund­ing from the CHA.

Chase F. Robin­son, di­rec­tor of the Freer and Sack­ler Gal­leries said this on­line cat­a­logue, opened on Sept. 21, rep­re­sents an im­por­tant in­ter­na­tional col­lab­o­ra­tion, and demon­strates how mu­se­ums can dig­i­tally ad­vance re­search on a rare col­lec­tion of Korean art­works.

“We hope our bilin­gual re­source in­tro­duces these in­cred­i­bly beau­ti­ful and im­por­tant works of art to new au­di­ences in the West,” Robin­son said.

Pro­fes­sor Chung Woo-thak (Pro­fes­sor Emer­i­tus, Dong­guk Univer­sity) and J. Keith Wil­son, cu­ra­tor of the Freer Sack­ler organized the on­line plat­form since 2013. They col­lab­o­rated on in­ter­pre­ta­tion and trans­la­tion of the art­works, credit line re­search and web­site re­vi­sion for seven years based on a com­mon prin­ci­ple on the im­por­tance of Go­ryeo Bud­dhist paint­ing learnt through their 30 years of study.

Chung said, “The fact that Amer­ica’s na­tional mu­seum with world­wide recog­ni­tion has pro­duced a web­site solely ded­i­cated to Go­ryeo Bud­dhist paint­ings is in it­self a ground­break­ing event, but the project may be by far the most re­mark­able re­sult of a sup­port project by our own in­sti­tu­tion to a mu­seum abroad.”

The web­site has six sec­tions in­clud­ing Ob­jects, Peo­ple, Es­says, Re­sources, Se­lected Bi­b­li­og­ra­phy and Pat­tern Li­brary. The Pat­tern Li­brary sec­tion of­fers in­for­ma­tion on pat­terns ap­pear­ing in the Go­ryeo Bud­dhist paint­ings, which are unique and can be distin­guished from Chi­nese or Ja­panese Bud­dhist paint­ings around the same time.

Wil­son said what makes this cat­a­logue spe­cial is the high res­o­lu­tion, de­tailed images that al­low view­ers to have a close look at these rare paint­ings.

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