Stolen ‘Forty-two Sugwaneumdo’ to Gounsa Temple in Uiseong after 33 years

Gounsa, a thousand-year-old temple in Uiseong, Gyeongsangbuk-do (the headquarters of the 16th parish of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism) will open to the public on the 8th the holy book ‘Forty-Issu Gwaneumdo’.

Hwanji Boncheo is a Buddhist term for returning to the original position.

According to Gounsa on the 7th, the ‘Forty-two Sugwaneumdo’ was stolen from the Geuknakjeon Hall of the Gounsa Temple on January 13, 1989.

After that, it was discovered in a private museum in Seoul in October 2016 and was finally retrieved on September 20, 2017, and has been preserved by the Buddhist Central Museum.

After completing the special exhibition ‘The Master of the Joseon Monks’ held by the National Museum of Korea from December 7 to March 6 last year, he returned to Gounsa Temple after 33 years on March 20.

In consideration of the cultural value of the sacred treasure, Gounsa Temple will prepare a Buddhist altar to be enshrined in its original state before being stolen from Geuknakjeon Hall, and will be unveiled to the public for the first time through the ‘Buddha’s Day’ instillation ceremony on the 8th.

‘Forty-two-water Gwaneumdo’ is a Buddhist painting created in 1828 by 39 members of the Shingyeom group of Toeundang (退雲堂).

Shin-gyeom is a Suhwa-seung (首畵僧) representative of the Sabulsanhwa faction that was active in the Gyeongsangbuk-do region from the late 18th century to the early 19th century.

He has a high reputation for establishing his own iconography, composition, and form of expression rather than following the general style of painting during the Joseon Dynasty.

In particular, he served as the concubine of Gounsa Baekryeonam for 10 years from 1820, and included ‘Gounsa Sanshindo’ (1820), ‘Myungbu Siwangdo and Sajado’ (1828), and ‘Hyeonwangdo Chobon’ ( 1830) and produced representative Buddhist paintings of temples.

In particular, the firework was damaged and only the records of ‘The 8th Year of Dogwang’ have been confirmed, but fortunately, the original Buddhist painting is in the collection of the Seongbo Museum of Tongdosa Temple.

In the first draft, it is said, ‘In the 8th year of the guidebook, Shingyeom started the forty-two-numbered Gwaneum Bodhisattva in Gounsa Daebeopdang, Uiseong, Gyeongsangjwa, in the 8th year of the guide.幀出草退雲堂信謙)’ has an ink book, so you can check the production time and place of enshrining.

The Buddhist painting depicts the Bodhisattva Cheonsu Kannon, who has 42 great beasts holding two Buddha statues, sitting on a lotus pedestal.

The Cheonshui Guanyin Bodhisattva is a bodhisattva that has been widely worshiped as a symbol of preparation for greatness that destroys sickness and evil deeds of sentient beings and gives comfort and longevity.

It is usually expressed with 42 hands, and each hand appears with an eye. This is to examine and save numerous sentient beings.

The Bodhisattva in the Buddhist painting has a slender face and a gorgeous sword, and has delicate arms and fingers.

The eight hands in front of the chest perform the functions of Seonjeongin, Sermon, and Hapjang, and the left arm is extended to hold Jeongbyeong.

The remaining hands are arranged in a left-right symmetrical circle of 17 each, each holding a piece of paper.

The shape and features of the Cheonsu Gwaneum are in accordance with the rites such as the ‘Cheonsugyeong’, but elements that are different from the general ‘Cheonsu Gwaneumdo’ in the late Joseon Dynasty are revealed in the location of the two Buddha statues, the number of men such as Seonjeongin, and the size of the Jeongbyeong.

From January 1989 to September 1997, 6 pieces of discord were stolen from Gounsa, including the ‘Forty-Two Suspension Gwaneumdo’, 2 ‘Amitabha Buddha Hoedo’, 1 ‘Jijang Bodhisattva’, and 2 ‘Sinjungdo’.

The whereabouts of the remaining five points of discord are still unknown, with the exception of the ‘Forty-Two Hands of Gwaneumdo’, which was revived this time.


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