National Intangible Cultural Property No. 118 Bulhwajang


Everlasting Legacies of Korea

National Intangible Cultural Property No. 118 Bulhwajang +

Classification Intangible Cultural Property / Traditional Technology / Art
Designated date 2006.1.10
location Goyang-si, Gyeonggi-do
Bulhwajang refers to the art of Buddhist painting or an artist who is skilled in such art. Buddhist paintings are considered objects of worship along with pagodas and Buddhist statues. Based on their forms, Buddhist paintings can be categorized as taenghwa (hanging paintings), gyeonghwa (sutra paintings), and byeokhwa (mural paintings).

In particular, taenghwa are hung behind the Buddhist altar after holding a number of religious ceremonies. These hanging paintings, found at traditional temples, are the major form of Buddhist painting in Korea; the monks in charge of producing the paintings go by several names such as geumeo, hwaseung, hwasa, or hwawon.

The art of Buddhist painting was formerly handed down by the holders of Dancheongjang (Ornamental Painting). Considering the differences in technique and function, however, it has now been separated from the ornamental painting to form its own category. Therefore, Buddhist painting and ornamental painting are being taught and handed down as two separate categories.

The colorful ornamental paintwork at Buddhist temples and palace buildings is clearly different from Buddhist painting in purpose and expression. While it is used to decorate the walls and structural members of wooden buildings with geometric patterns and drawings, Buddhist painting refers mainly to the production of paintings, expressing Buddhist doctrine in an easy-to-understand manner.


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