Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism

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Korean Buddhism Culture History of Korean Buddhist Art
History of Korean Buddhist Art

Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism

Buddhist art was the first artistic revolution to happen in Korea, and it held an important place in shaping the foundation of Korean art. Although Buddhism was introduced from outside Korea, as Korean Buddhism developed in its own distinctive way, its aesthetic character also evolved into its own distinctive character.

During the Three Kingdoms Period, each of the three kingdoms developed its own unique and diverse forms of art. After the unification of the three kingdoms, Unified Silla saw the glory days of Korean Buddhist art. With Buddhism firmly ensconced as the state religion, Buddhist art evolved in newer and more diverse ways centered on Buddhist philosophy. And with the introduction of Seon Buddhism, Buddhist sculpture in the Goryeo era exceeded the standards of previous eras.
However, with the founding of the Joseon Dynasty, a radical change ensued. In keeping with the new state policy of suppressing Buddhism, Buddhism’s influence weakened, and Buddhist art also suffered greatly. All Buddhist artistic endeavors, including architecture, went into decline, and a series of invasions by both Japanese and Qing Chinese forces during the 16th and 17th centuries saw vast numbers of statues, sculptures, and architectural structures destroyed, leaving centuries of Korea’s cultural traditions in ruin. In spite of this near constant onslaught, Buddhism survived and often played an important role in overcoming calamities and helping the nation heal from the wounds of war. Thanks to this spiritual and healing power of Buddhism, massive Buddhist projects were undertaken even during the period Buddhism was being suppressed. Buddhist culture and art from the Joseon era has endured to this day, forming an important pillar of the Korean people’s spiritual realm.

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