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Goryeo Buddhist Painting in an Interregional Context

Yukio Lippit
Ars Orientalis
Vol. 35 (2008), pp. 192-232
Published by: Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution and Department of the History of Art, University of Michigan
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25481912
Page Count: 41
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Abstract

Because most Korean Buddhist paintings of the Goryeo period (918-1392) have survived only in the Japanese archipelago, research on them has been carried out primarily within isolated interpretive communities in Japan and Korea. This article surveys the study of Goryeo painted icons in Japan in an effort to identify how the unique reception history of this genre has conditioned its historiography. After considering the various historical factors that led to the movement of large numbers of early Korean Buddhist works to the archipelago, the article demonstrates how these largely anonymous scrolls came to bear attributions to Chinese professional painters of the Ningbo region. The modern Japanese historiography is then surveyed in terms of three successive stages (1932-1967, 1967-1981, 1981-present) characterized in general terms by cataloging projects, iconographic studies, and contextual analyses. A concluding section assesses the legacy of this historiography and future avenues of research that tie Goryeo Buddhist painting to larger questions concerning the nature of the East Asian Buddhist icon in general.

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