Sutra Writing: A visit to the studio of a master calligrapher

Saturday, October 4, 2014 -
3:00pm to 6:00pm
in Seoul
FREE for members, 10,000W for non-members
Tour Leader: 
Brother Anthony

Today’s visit is intended to give participants a chance to admire the work of Master Oegil, Kim Kyeong-Ho, a calligrapher of outstanding skills. For many years now he has been studying the ancient practice of Sutra copying, using powdered gold or silver, in an attempt to revive a tradition that flourished in Korea some 1,700 years ago. Having spent many years in an attempt to recover the lost techniques required to prepare and color the paper, and to acquire sufficient calligraphic skill for the task of copying the sutras, he established the Korean Transcribed Sutra Research Association in order to communicate these skills to as many others as possible. In particular, the skill he displays in the paintings and ornaments, with lines a fraction of a millimeter in breadth, is breathtaking. Kim Kyeong-Ho has held 15 exhibitions of his work, in Seoul, Los Angeles and New York.

An Internet page shows 2 examples of ancient sutra paintings with the modern versions by Kim Kyeong-Ho.

Buddhism is based on the ‘three jewels’ of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. The Dharma, the teaching of the Buddha, is expressed in a large number of sutras (scriptures) which as such are the object of veneration. Copying the sutras using writing-brush and ink has long been practiced in Korea. It began with the first introduction of Buddhism into the Three Kingdoms of Korea in the 4th century of the current era. It flourished especially during the Koryŏ era (918-1392), when Buddhism enjoyed royal patronage, and has been practiced in one form or another as a spiritual discipline ever since. As the highest form of devotion and practice, in the most elaborate and formal process precious materials such as gold and silver came to be used.
In the most elaborate form, a prefatory painting is made, illustrating the contents of the sutra. The borders are decorated with wheels (symbolizing the truth of the Buddha’s message spreading across the world). Sometimes in the painting the celestial gods are portrayed around their king. The text of the sutra itself is written with the utmost care, avoiding the slightest irregularity, in the most refined style of script available.

Kim Kyeong-Ho’s studio is in Yeonhui-dong, opposite Woori Bank at Yeonhui 3geori. Because it is not easy to find, those joining this visit should meet the leader at 2:30pm on the sidewalk in front of exit 1 of Sinchon subway station. From there we will take a local bus. Since space is limited, only 12 participants can be accepted for this visit, which is free for RAS members. Non-members will be asked to pay a KW 10,000 contribution to the RAS. Please sign up in advance for this visit.

TO: R.A.S. (Please reserve by Wednesday, October 1, 2014)
NAME________________________________ MEMBER________ NONMEMBER_________
NAME________________________________ MEMBER________ NON-MEMBER_________
PHONE NO. (MOBILE) ______________________ (OFFICE / HOME) ____________________

Upon confirmation, please make a payment to the following account: Shinhan Bank Account #100-026-383501 (RAS-KB)

Contact Us

Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch
Room 611, Korean Christian Building, Daehak-ro 19 (Yeonji-dong), Jongno-gu, Seoul 03129
[03129] 서울시 종로구 대학로 19 (연지동) 한국기독교회관 611호

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