Massive Buddha painting on display in Seoul

Massive Buddha painting on display in Seoul
A hanging scroll of the Buddha from Gaeamsa Temple. (National Museum of Korea)

A Buddhist painting currently on display at the National Museum of Korea in Seoul inspires awe through its sheer size and grandiosity rather than its artistry.

The hanging scroll from the Joseon era stands 1,317 metres tall, about the same height as a five-story building.

Dating back to 1749, the artifact, designated as National Treasure No. 1269, is one of the largest gwaebul paintings in Korea.

A hanging scroll of the Buddha from Gaeamsa Temple. (National Museum of Korea)

Gwaebul are Buddhist hanging scrolls used as the focus of worship in outdoor rituals, mostly at temples.

"This is the ninth instalment of our gwaebul exhibition series. Because of their size, these paintings are very rarely exhibited," the museum said in a press release.

Historical records show that a total of 13 painters were mobilized for the piece and a total of 250 laypeople and monks made donations to provide ink and other materials. The painting was in use until the 19th century, the records show.

The hanging scroll from Gaeamsa Temple will be on display until April 26, 2015, at the Buddhist Paintings Gallery of the National Museum of Korea, central Seoul.

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