The Korean Art Exhibition At The Los Angeles County Museum Of Art

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Korea has met many religious ideas and practices throughout the nation’s history. Other than the more indigenous ideologies like shamanism, Confucianism and Buddhism have been most influential in ancient Korea prior to the onset of Japanese colonialism. The Korean Art Exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art showed multiple ritual objects such as incense burners and ritual bottles (kundika) used in Buddhist practices during the Koryŏ period, suggesting that the religion was prevalent during that time. The museum also displayed a wooden tablet (wonpae) used in the Chosŏn period for Buddhist rituals; however, the exhibit did not forget to mention that Confucianism was the official ideology of the Chosŏn. The relationship between the two set of beliefs has been dynamic throughout Korean history. Buddhism dominated religious practices in the Koryŏ period, but during the transition from the Koryŏ to the Chosŏn period, Neo-Confucian scholars overpowered its counterpart by calling for anti-Buddhism reforms. The bringing of new ideas by Neo-Confucians was necessary in replacing the rich and overpowered Buddhism religion and attaining a new order of virtuous and meritorious leadership. Buddhism, for most of Korea’s history, was the prominent religion that exerted influence over the Korean people, both elites and commoners. It reached its peak in the Koryŏ period, during which many Buddhist monasteries were built. The Buddhist community grew extensively along with the

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