Hanging scroll, ink and color on silk; 59 7/8 x 30 5/8 in. (152.1 x 77.8 cm)
Seymour Fund, 1959 (59.19)
This painting of the eminent monk Cheonghodang is a rare early example of a portrait of a Korean Buddhist monk and one of several surviving copies of a now-lost portrait of Cheonghodang executed during his lifetime. The artist's careful delineation of the monk's face was intended to give a realistic appearance to the subject. Painted portraits of revered monks, particularly those of patriarchs or founders of doctrinal schools, were enshrined in Buddhist temples.
When Buddhism was repressed by the Joseon government in favor of Neo-Confucianism, Cheonghodang restored order to the community of monks and wrote the basic text that is still followed by members of the Seon (Chinese: Chan; Japanese: Zen) order. In addition to being a pivotal leader of the Joseon Buddhist establishment, CCheonghodang led an army of Buddhist monks against Japanese invasion forces in the late sixteenth century and helped to recover the Joseon capital, Hanyang (modern Seoul).