Unidentified Artist / Illustrated manuscript of the Lotus Sutra / Koryô dynasty (918?1392), ca. 1340Unidentified Artist
Illustrated manuscript of the Lotus Sutra
Koryô dynasty (918?1392), ca. 1340

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Korean
Creator Dates/Places: Korea late 14th century
Creator Name-CRT: Unidentified Artist
Title: Illustrated manuscript of the Lotus Sutra
View: Principal view
Creation Start Date: 1330
Creation End Date: 1350
Creation Date: Koryô dynasty (918?1392), ca. 1340
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Materials and Techniques: Book, gold and silver on indigo-dyed mulberry paper
Dimensions: 106 pages; each 13 x 4 1/2 in. (33 x 11.4 cm)

This lavishly illustrated fourteenth-century manuscript, produced on mulberry paper dyed indigo blue and executed in gold and silver, demonstrates the standards of excellence for which Kory¿ sutras are renowned. Like most Korean illuminated manuscripts of this period, it is presented in a rectangular accordion format that facilitated reading. The text is the second volume of the Lotus Sutra, one of the most influential Buddhist texts in East Asia and, along with the Avatamsaka Sutra, the most frequently copied sutra in Korea during the Kory¿ period. The Lotus Sutra presents in concrete terms the essence of Mahayana Buddhism?namely, the doctrine of universal salvation of all living beings and the attainment of Buddhahood, the ultimate aim of existence.

Read from right to left, the manuscript begins with the title, written in gold , followed by illustrations of episodes described in the inscribed text, executed in minute detail and lavishly embellished in gold. The illustrations are framed by a border of vajra (thunderbolt) and chakra (wheel) motifs, symbolizing indestructibility and the Buddha law, respectively. At the far right, the historical Buddha Shakyamuni, shown seated on a dais behind an altar and surrounded by bodhisattvas and guardians, preaches to his disciple Shariputra in the company of other monks. In the upper left of the frontispiece is a scene illustrating the parable of the burning house, which relates the story of a wealthy man and his children. The children are playing in the house, unaware that it is plagued by demons, poisonous insects, and snakes and that it is also on fire. Their father, in order to entice his children away from the danger, offers them three carts, drawn by an ox, a deer, or a goat according to each child's preferences and interests. When the children exit the burning house, however, they each receive a cart even more magnificent than they expected. This parable illustrates how "expedient methods" (the modest carts) c
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York
ID Number: 1994.207
Credit Line: Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1994
Copyright: Copyright ? 2002 The Metropolitan Museum of Art . All rights reserved.
Rights: http://www.metmuseum.org/education/er_photo_lib.asp
AMICA ID: MMA_.1994.207
AMICA Library Year: 2002
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright (c) 2002 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All Rights Reserved

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