The Korea Herald


Dutch state museum shows Korean Buddha statue for first time

By Choi Si-young

Published : July 3, 2024 - 18:00

    • Link copied

Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva (left) and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (National Museum of Korea) Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva (left) and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (National Museum of Korea)

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is showing an 18th-century Korean Buddha statue, its first showing of a Buddha statue from Korea.

Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, on loan from the National Museum of Korea, will be displayed at the Asian Pavilion of the Rijksmuseum for two years, through May 2026. Korea’s state-run museum arranged the loan as part of efforts to help museums around the world establish a more diverse collection of Korean artifacts, the museum said Wednesday.

Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva is believed to have been made by Jinyeol, a Buddhist monk who left behind sculptures from the mid-1700s to the early 1720s. That was a period when monks were prolific artists, producing works that ranged from Buddhist sculptures to paintings.

“What sets the Korean Buddhist monks at the time apart from their peers in China and Japan is that the monks created the sculptures themselves,” an NMK official said, noting the statue has been kept in good condition.

“We can’t be absolutely sure how many Korean objects are currently housed at the Rijksmuseum,” the NMK official said, putting the figure around 30.

The Rijksmuseum, located at Amsterdam’s Museum Square, is the largest art museum in the country with a collection of 1 million objects. Masterpieces at the museum include those by Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Johannes Vermeer and Vincent van Gogh.