Conservation in Action: Saving a Rare Buddhist Scroll

December 13, 2010

An extraordinary project is now underway in the Korean Art galleries: a team of conservators is restoring a large eighteenth-century Korean Buddhist painting, in public view.

Professor Park and her team of five conservators traveled from Korea to work on this project at LACMA for a year.

Professor Chi Sun Park, who teaches in the Department of Conservation of Cultural Properties at Yong-In University in Seoul, is supervising the work with help from our Conservation Center. Professor Park says that initially she had concerns about working in a public area. Now that the team is installed at LACMA, she appreciates the interest and respect demonstrated by visitors who come to watch her and her team go about their painstaking process.

When LACMA acquired the scroll, it was in such fragile condition that we couldn’t display it. So far, the team has managed to reintegrate the torn and damaged sections of the painting. They are replacing the lining, cleaning the surface of the painting, and stabilizing areas of flaking paint. The Friends of Heritage Preservation helped bring Professor Park to LACMA to save this rare masterpiece.


Buddha Seokgamoni (Shakyamuni) Preaching to the Assembly on Vulture Peak depicts Seokgamoni (Sanskrit: Shakyamuni), the historical Buddha and founder of Buddhism, seated on a lotus pedestal, preaching to a large assembly. It is the earliest known painting from Gangwon province to survive the devastation of the Korean War. You can see the restoration of the scroll in the Korean Galleries in the Hammer Building at LACMA through August 2011.