Unidentified Artist / Kshitigarbha (Chijang) / Koryô dynasty (918?1392)Unidentified Artist
Kshitigarbha (Chijang)
Koryô dynasty (918?1392)

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Korean
Creator Dates/Places: Korea late 14th century
Creator Name-CRT: Unidentified Artist
Title: Kshitigarbha (Chijang)
View: Principal view
Creation Start Date: 918
Creation End Date: 1392
Creation Date: KoryƓ dynasty (918?1392)
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Materials and Techniques: Hanging scroll; gold and color on silk
Dimensions: 33 1/4 x 14 1/2 in. (84.5 x 36.8 cm)

The popularity of the Bodhisattva Kshitigarbha (Chijang) in KoryƓ Pure Land Buddhism is demonstrated by the frequent depiction of the deity in devotional paintings. Kshitigarbha is most commonly portrayed as a monk holding a mendicant's staff and a wish-fulfilling jewel (cintamani), the light of which could illuminate even the darkest corners of hell. With the growing popularity of the Pure Land school at all levels of Korean society in the thirteenth century, during which time the peninsula suffered six invasions by Mongol armies, the promise of paradise for the faithful and the threat of hell for evil beings became increasingly attractive concepts. The image of Chijang standing on lotus-flower pedestals and holding his staff and cintamani represented to devotees his power over hell, from which he could deliver unfortunate beings and lead them to paradise.

The variety of colors used in this painting?from the malachite green of the gold-edged nimbus and the bright cinnabar red of the underskirt to the bluish gray monk's robe and the dazzling gold of the textile patterns?provides striking contrasts. The rich ornamentation of the decorative motifs on the garment is executed with virtuosity. Despite such technical brilliance, however, the bodhisattva's face is somewhat precious, with narrowly set eyes and very small nose and lips, and the drapery is stiff and flat, with little suggestion of volume. These features, as well as the schematic curves of the garment and the pointed corners of the hemlines, indicate that this painting was made no earlier than the late fourteenth century.

AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York
ID Number: 29.160.32
Credit Line: H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer , 1929
Copyright: Copyright ? 2002 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All rights reserved.
Rights: http://www.metmuseum.org/education/er_photo_lib.asp
AMICA ID: MMA_.29.160.32
AMICA Library Year: 2002
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright (c) 2002 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All Rights Reserved

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