Korean Language Blog

Korean Buddhist Statues Posted by on Jul 20, 2010 in Culture

Although Christianity is taking control of the South Korean peninsula, there are majestic remnants of Korea’s attachment to Buddhism.

The Bangasayusang (반가사유상) is a bronze statue of the Buddha. It’s sometimes compared to Rodin’s “The Thinker” because of the elbow resting on the leg. This is an old piece, originating from the Silla (신라)-Baekje (백제) period. One of the interesting aspects of this statue is that it is sitting in an unusual pose.

The typical seating posture of the Buddha in Korean Buddhist statues is where the Buddha is sitting cross-legged. The Buddha on the left was made of cast iron in the 9th century. You can see the folds of the drapes, with one –shoulder exposed. Unlike the first Buddha we saw, this Buddha is fleshy and rounder, which is typical of Korean Buddhist statues.

The other posture of Buddha in Korean statues is the Buddha standing. This Buddha was made in the 8th century and is housed in the Gyeongju National Museum (국립경주박물관). This Buddha has a serene and placid expression typical of Korean Buddha statues. You’ll also notice the long, sagging ears, which is also another typical feature of Korean Buddhas.

Like this Buddha, some of the Buddhas were made of gold. In addition, this Buddha has one hand raised with the palm facing outward. This hand gesture is not uncommon in Korean Buddhist statues. The quality of this statue is impressive because even though the statue if made of gold, you can still see the fine details in the folds of the drapery.

Some of the Korean Buddhist statues were carved from rock and placed within the natural environment. The best example of this is the Buddhist statue in Daegu (대구) called the 갓바위. 갓바위 means “stone hat” because atop the Buddha’s head is a flat rock. The statue is located and carved from the Palgong Mountains (팔공산).

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  1. buddha lama:

    i am happy to be a buddhist…..

  2. Andre:

    Do you know where can I get a Korean Buddha statue? I’m having a very hard time locating one; I practice Korean Soen and would like a Korean statue. Thanks for any help you can give me.

    • Linda:

      @Andre Hi Andre, I don’t know where one could purchase a Korean Buddha statue. Are you in South Korea? Perhaps you could go to a Buddhist temple. Good luck with your search, and sorry we couldn’t help!

  3. Buddha Statues:

    The important feature of Korean Buddha Statue is the statue don’t look like to west. They are more likely to be Korean itself. Buddha Statues that are from most of the southasian countries looks like they are from west. it’s mainly because the Buddha Statues were originated from Gandhara period and were more influence with greek civilization.