국립중앙박물관 NATIONAL MUSEUM OF KOREA

Highlights
Gilt-bronze Miniature Shrine
  • Exhibition Name

    Goryeo and Joseon Dynasty Buddhist Sculptures

  • Culture/Period

    Goryeo Dynasty

  • Materials

    Metal - Gilt-bronze

  • Category

    religion - Buddhism - adoration - niche

  • Dimensions

    H. 28.0cm, L. 12.6cm, W. 25.0cm

  • Accession Number

    Deoksu 2115

  • Location

    Buddhist Sculpture Gallery

This portable shrine from the Goryeo era is shaped like a miniature palace. The roof tiles are bronze, and covered with a light-green patina, while the hinged doors and walls of the shrine are gilt bronze panels. The entire structure rests on a wooden panel. The embossed relief of the Buddha and bodhisattvas was created using a special milling technique in which a thin layer of gold is pressed against an embossed or incised design so that the gold assumes the form of the design. In this relief, the Buddha and two bodhisattvas are seated on lotus pedestals. The bodhisattvas have their hands clasped together. The three seated figures are surrounded by the Ten Eminent Disciples of the Buddha. On the inside of the left wall of the shrine, Manjusri Bodhisattva is seen riding a lion, while the inside of the right wall shows Samantabhadra Bodhisattva riding an elephant. The ceiling of the shrine is decorated with a dragon, and the floor bears a lotus design. The hinged doors open to reveal two inwang (仁王, guardian deities of the Buddha) to the left and right, which were embossed using the same milling technique. The exterior of the shrine has attached silver panels on the sides and back. The sides are embossed with images of the Four Heavenly Kings (四天王), two on each side, and the back shows the divine guardians of the Dharma surrounded by clouds and lotus vines. Another portable shrine with a form resembling this one was found in Cheoneunsa Temple in Gurye, South Jeolla-do Province. That example had two gilt bronze Buddha statues inside. It is therefore presumed that this shrine also held statues inside it at one time, even though no such statues have been found.