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The establishment of a museum in the precinct of Ch'anggyŏnggung Palace in 1909 marked an important moment in the historiography of Korean art. Although recent studies have examined the founding, organization, and financing of the first Korean museum, the formation of its Buddhist art collection and its historical implications remain unexamined. Given that not a single Buddhist temple was allowed to exist within the capital city, the entry of these objects into the palace demonstrates a radical paradigm shift in the royal court's relation to Buddhist icons. The museum's Buddhist art collection reveals what was available in the art market of the time and what was considered worthy of being collected in a royal museum. Through close examination of Korea's first museum and its collection, this study traces the recontextualization of religious icons into art objects and the historical implications behind the category of “Buddhist statues.”
Sungkyun Journal of East Asian Studies – Duke University Press
Published: May 1, 2021
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