VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Amitabha Triad
Leeum12
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

The dominating figure of AmitabhaAmitabha (the Buddha of the Western Paradise) is shown alongside Avalokitesvara (the Bodhisattva of Compassion) and Ksitigarbha (the Bodhisattva of the Underworld) in a scene depicting the welcoming of the faithful to the Pure Land Paradise. From the Amitabha’s right hand a mysterious stream of light extends toward the tiny figure kneeling in the bottom left corner, while Avalokitesvara, known as the “one who hears the sounds of the world,” bends forward with an offering of a lotus bud in his hand. This rather peaceful scene is interrupted by the figure of Ksitigarbha, who stands somewhat aloofly towards the back. Unlike the others, whose attention is focused on the human, Ksitigarbha stubbornly looks towards the viewer, holding a wish-fulfilling pearl rigidly in his hand. An enlivening tension is created, which along with the unusual composition, splendid color scheme, and meticulous detail, makes this painting a true masterpiece of Goryeo art. It is designated as Korean National Treasure No. 218.

History of the Object
This work presumably produced in the late Goryeo, presents unique characteristics such as Ksitigarbha appears instead of Mahasthamaprapta, Avalokitesvara is placed in front of Amitabha, and the kneeling figure is focused by a stream of light. Also, the sumptuous coloring using gold pigment and sophisticated facial expressions are remarkably fascinating.

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Type
Painting 
Materials
Colors on silk 
Measurements
110.7 X 51.0 cm 
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Korea 
Geography
Korea 
Time period
AD 14th century ~ AD 14th century 
Creation date
14th Century; Goryeo Period 
Function
Buddhist ritual, appreciation 
Acquisition
It is the official position of the Leeum Museum not to publish the provenance of its collection. 
Copyright
Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art 
Museum
Leeum Samsung Museum of Art 
Credit line
Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art 

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