Japanese Buddhist Art at the National Museum of Korea in Seoul (Now until Feb 19, 2012)
Michel Lebon and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The (http://www.museum.go.kr/main/index/index002.jsp) National Museum of Korea (NMK) is currently holding a stunning exhibition of Japanese Buddhist art and the exhibition runs until February 19, 2012. According to information on the NMK website this museum was the ninth most visited museum in the world in 2010 and with stylish exhibitions like Japanese Buddhist art it is clear why. Therefore, Koreans, other nationalities in South Korea and tourists to this beautiful country have a great opportunity to view this exhibition and other exhibitions which highlight the richness of Korean culture.
Japanese Buddhist art and wisdom is famous in places like Kamakura, Kyoto, Nara, Koyasan, and throughout Japan and clearly Korea and China enabled Buddhism to reach the land of the rising sun. The exhibition held at the NMK focuses on art from the Lake Biwa area and the spiritual connection between Korea and Japan is also highlighted.
Ryu Seung-jin who is the curator of Asian Art at the NMK comments that“Many Koreans may not be so familiar with the Lake Biwa district….But the region carries a lot of significance in Korea-Japan history, as it was the area where Buddhism was introduced by Baekje migrants, and where the official travelling routes for goodwill missions from Joseon (1392-1910), whenever they made diplomatic visits to Japan, took place.”
Therefore, the exhibition isn’t just highlighting the natural beauty of Japanese Buddhist art and the richness of culture in the Lake Biwa area of Japan. More important, the exhibition is highlighting a common thread which runs throughout northeast Asia and this applies to Buddhism and past interaction between different ethnic groups.
In this period of history some of the finest scholars and religious teachers of the entire region would travel or interact through Buddhist thought patterns and cultural exchanges were normal. Therefore, when we look at petty issues re-surfacing time after time in modern northeast Asia it makes you wonder what happened to “modernity” and “progress.” Given this, the Japanese art exhibition in Seoul at the NMK is a welcome reminder about the shared humanity of history, ideas, culture, and so forth, of the entire region.
Of course, unique internal traits in each respective nation alongside strong regional traits which are not nation based remain strong. However, the role of Buddhism was meant to highlight the common humanity of all just like Christianity and other world faiths. Therefore, by viewing the exhibition it becomes apparent that Buddhism and Confucianism impacted deeply on the entire region and this also applies to architectural design in Japan in this period.
The exhibition is extremely rich in culture and this applies to showing 4 National Treasure items from Japan and highlighting a further 31 items of Important Cultural Property according to Japan which designated these titles. Also, other amazing art items belong to this stunning exhibition and clearly this will appeal to all individuals who love art, culture, history, and religion.
If you view the website of the NMK it states the following about the Lake Biwa region because it is stated that “Buddhism was brought from Baekje to this area earlier than elsewhere in Japan and flourished there. The temple where Tiantai Buddhism was founded and famous Buddhist retreats nestle in mountains and hills surrounding Lake Biwako, and these places abound in Buddhist sculptures and paintings.”
“This exhibition showcases Buddhist art items in the collection, or in the custody, of the Shiga Prefectural Lake Biwako Museum in Otsu, along with items in the collections of the Nara and Kyoto National Museums and those housed in temples in Shiga Prefecture.”
If (http://www.museum.go.kr/main/index/index002.jsp) you visit this link then more in depth information will be supplied about this stunning art exhibition at the NMK which is located in Seoul. Therefore, please check this link and note other exhibitions and other details about this exquisite museum.
The image was taken from the National Museum of Korea website which highlights this stunning exhibition.