Imperial Japanese scholars investigated Buddhist art in Korea prior to their country’s annexation of Korea, and shortly after that annexation they commenced their restoration work on those investigated cultural artifacts. This paper aims to review the changes in the context of restored Korean Buddhist art through an examination of period photographs. Japanese publishers made frequent use of photographs of Korean cultural properties taken before and after their restoration. Through these modern Japanese publishing and education efforts, Koreans came to perceive their Buddhist cultural properties as objects belonging to the past to be preserved and protected. Korea’s Buddhist cultural properties, which had once been pivots of ardent prayers, changed into objects of aesthetic and intellectual appreciation. As a result, Koreans of the period came to consider the objects of Korea’s Buddhist material heritage as the subjects of “sightseeing” or questions of “educational refinement” rather than of religious faith.


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pp. 11-43
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