[KS] Two Sokkuram queries

Youngsook Pak yp at soas.ac.uk
Thu Nov 17 10:16:40 EST 2005

Dear Koreanists,


I am quite sure that Sokkuram was originally painted and gilded, as all images in cave temples were, both in the west and east. When you visit Chinese cave temples, Yungang, Longmen, Binglingsi, Mogaoku in Dunhuang, Kizil, Bezeklik, etc., you will see there are no exceptions. The recent excavations of hundreds of stone images from Qingzhou in Shandong  province confirm this. Classical Greek marble sculptures, eg, Pergamon in Berlin and Parthenon marbles in the British Museum, were once all painted, although they have now become pure white.


Youngsook Pak

Department of Art and Archaeology

School of Oriental and African Studies

University of London



From: Koreanstudies-bounces at koreaweb.ws [mailto:Koreanstudies-bounces at koreaweb.ws] On Behalf Of Young-Jun Lee
Sent: 16 November 2005 02:16
To: Korean Studies Discussion List
Subject: Re: [KS] Two Sokkuram queries


I visited Sokkuram twice in the 1990s and entered inside the grotto but I could not detect any trace of painting.

I would recommend you to view the video produced by KBS-TV:

 <javascript:open_window(> Sŏkkuram pulsang edo saek ŭl ch'irhaetta [videorecording] / ch'aegim p'ŭrodyusŏ, Nam Sŏng-u ; yŏnch'ul, O Su-sŏng ; chejak, KBS. 


In the video, they insists that many statues were originally painted.



Young-Jun Lee

Visiting Lecturer, Korean Literature

University of California, Berkeley

Ph.D. Candidate,

EALC, Harvard University

----- Original Message ----- 

From: Robert Oppenheim <mailto:rmo at mail.utexas.edu>  

To: Koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws 

Sent: 2005년 11월 9일 수요일 오전 11:23

Subject: [KS] Two Sokkuram queries


Dear all,

I wonder if anyone could help me with two questions.  Forgive me if these 
are obvious; I'm not an art historian:

1) The central Buddha at Sokkuram retains traces of red paint on its 
lips.  Has anyone ever seen a discussion of how the rest of the stone 
surfaces of the temple were painted, traces remaining into the 20th 
century, etc.?  {Full disclosure: I've never been inside past the window to 
see up close}.

2) Can anyone suggest a reference, more generally, to discussions of 
conventions of depicting human figures in Korean Buddhist temple painting?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

Rob Oppenheim

Robert Oppenheim
Assistant Professor
Department of Asian Studies
University of Texas, Austin
1 University Station G9300
Austin, TX 78712

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