Sŏkkuram (Stone Grotto Chapel) in Eurasian Context
Assistant Professor, Department of Art History, University of Minnesota
Thursday, April 2, 2015
4:10 pm, Cohen Memorial Hall 203
Sŏkkuram (literally, “Stone Grotto Chapel”) is a mid-eighth century lapidary Buddhist sanctuary made in Unified Silla (668-935 CE) Korea. With its domed rear section buried to bring cave-like effect, this extraordinary ashlar masonry temple is constructed of a rectangular antechamber, a narrow vaulted corridor, and a rotunda sanctum featuring a main granite statue of the Buddha, placed imposingly at the center for circumambulatory worship. In regard to this unique architectonic, the talk attempts to situate its origin to the extent of Iranian tradition developed under the Parthians (ca. 250 BCE-ca. 224 CE) and the Sasanians (224-642 CE). Similar rock-cut Buddhist monasteries in Kucha (Xinjiang) are discussed as cognate cases in point.
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