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Illustrations and texts from the Buddhist Great Dharani Sutra of Immaculate and Pure Light (Mugujeonggwang daedarani)
Date: 2001
Object Name: Handscroll; sutra
Materials: Gold on paper
Dimensions: H. 83 1/2 in x W. 7 7/8 in (image); H. 212 cm x W. 20 cm (image)
Credit Line: Gift of Dong-u seunim
Department: Korean Art
Collection: Painting
Object Number: 2002.12.1
On Display: No

Description

Label:

These three handscrolls [2002.12.1, 2002.12.2, 2002.12.3] contain the same Buddhist text, the Great Dharani Sutra of Immaculate and Pure Light, in Chinese (left), Korean (middle), and Sanskrit (right). The sutra is about a Brahman priest asking the Buddha for salvation and longevity, who is in turn instructed to memorize the prayer (dharani) and to enshrine it inside a pagoda. Thus, according to the teachings of this sutra, a believer would be able to eliminate all sins and ensure long life by depositing a copy of the text inside a pagoda. In 1966 the sutra’s popularity among Koreans soared when one of the earliest woodblock-printed versions, dating from before 751, was found in a pagoda at the well-known Bulguksa Monastery.

Although the contents of the texts are the same, the images on each handscroll depict different scenes of the Brahman priest seeking salvation and of the Buddha’s instructions.

Dong-u, the monk who produced these scrolls, executed the calligraphy as well as the paintings. Most Buddhist texts in Korea were written on dark-blue paper. In a break from that tradition, Dong-u, a contemporary artist who re-creates traditional Buddhist texts, wrote on white paper but mounted the scrolls on blue backing.


Label:

These three handscrolls [2002.12.1, 2002.12.2, 2002.12.3] contain the same Buddhist text, the Great Dharani Sutra of Immaculate and Pure Light, in Chinese (left), Korean (middle), and Sanskrit (right). The sutra is about a Brahman priest asking the Buddha for salvation and longevity, who is in turn instructed to memorize the prayer (dharani) and to enshrine it inside a pagoda. Thus, according to the teachings of this sutra, a believer would be able to eliminate all sins and ensure long life by depositing a copy of the text inside a pagoda. In 1966 the sutra’s popularity among Koreans soared when one of the earliest woodblock-printed versions, dating from before 751, was found in a pagoda at the well-known Bulguksa Monastery.

Although the contents of the texts are the same, the images on each handscroll depict different scenes of the Brahman priest seeking salvation and of the Buddha’s instructions.

Dong-u, the monk who produced these scrolls, executed the calligraphy as well as the paintings. Most Buddhist texts in Korea were written on dark-blue paper. In a break from that tradition, Dong-u, a contemporary artist who re-creates traditional Buddhist texts, wrote on white paper but mounted the scrolls on blue backing.