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CHA releases English report on ‘gwaebul’ Buddhist paintings

Jan. 31, 2024 - 15:35 By Choi Si-young
A report on the gwaebul Buddhist paintings is released along with an English version on Tuesday. (National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage).

A research arm of the Cultural Heritage Administration published for the first time an English report on “gwaebul,” large paintings depicting Buddha preaching to his followers that are hung outside temples when rituals take place.

Such paintings are rarely found in China and Japan, the National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage said Tuesday, citing a project that has been studying gwaebul since 2015. A broader probe into Buddhist paintings took off in the mid-1970s, it added.

Titled “The Beauty of Korean Gwabul 1 Gyeonsang Provinces,” the report offers an overview of 26 gwaebul paintings scattered across 24 temples in South Korea’s southeastern region, an official at the NRICH said.

“We wanted to introduce to foreigners what we think is Korea’s lesser-known Buddhist object,” the official said, describing the English version as rendering the study of gwaebul “more accessible to overseas readers or researchers.”

The institute has already published the Korean reports on Gyeonsang provinces and the adjoining Jeolla provinces and are looking to cover temples in the remaining parts of the country. English versions will follow Korean releases, an official at the institute said, without elaborating on when to expect them.

“The NRICH is planning to continue its in-depth research and serial publications on gwaebul in an effort to support the international recognition of their value,” the institute said in a statement.