Haeinsa Temple Janggyeong Panjeon, the Depositories for the Tripitaka Koreana Woodblocks
Location and site
The Temple of Haeinsa, on Mount Gaya, is home to the Tripitaka Koreana , the most complete collection of Buddhist texts, engraved on 80,000 woodblocks between 1237 and 1248. The buildings of Janggyeong Panjeon, which date from the 15th century, were constructed to house the woodblocks, which are also revered as exceptional works of art. As the oldest depository of the Tripitaka , they reveal an astonishing mastery of the invention and implementation of the conservation techniques used to preserve these woodblocks.
Haeinsa Temple is owned by the Korean Buddhist Jogye Order. The Daejanggyeongpan (Tripitaka KoreanaWoodblocks) and the Janggyeong Panjeon (the depositories) have been designated as National Treasures, under the Cultural Heritage Protection Act. The entire area of Haeinsa Temple is designated as a Historic Site and a 2,095 ha area around the temple complex including Mount Gayasan, is designated as a Scenic Site under the same Act. The entire area of Mount Gayasan surrounding the temple is designated and protected as a National Park by the Natural Parks Act, which acts as a buffer zone to the cultural heritage. Haeinsa Temple is also registered as a ‘Buddhist Temple with historical significance’ under the Traditional Buddhist Temple Preservation Law. These designations impose strict constraints on alterations to the property and buffer zone.
At the national level, the Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) is responsible for establishing and enforcing policies for the protection of the temple complex and buffer zone, and allocating financial resources for the conservation of the Janggyeong Panjeon and the woodblocks. Gyeongsangnam-do Province provides additional financial support for the conservation of the temple and its woodblocks, and Hapcheon-gun County is directly responsible for the more specific operations of conservation and management. Haeinsa Temple is in charge of the day-to-day management and provides information on the woodblocks via its website. Regular day-to-day monitoring of the property is carried out and in-depth professional monitoring is conducted on a 3 to 4 year basis.
Criterion (iv): The depositories of the Haeinsa Temple are unique both in terms of their antiquity so far as this specialized type of structure is concerned, and also for the remarkably effective solutions developed in the 15th century to address the problem of storing and conserving the 80,000 woodblocks used to print the Buddhist scriptures (Tripitaka Koreana) against deterioration.
Criterion (vi): The Janggyeong Panjeon and its unique collection of 13th century Tripitaka Koreana woodblocks, outstanding for their artistry and excellent execution of engraving techniques, occupy an exceptional position in the history of Buddhism as the most complete and accurate corpus of Buddhist doctrinal texts in the world.
The Janggyeong Panjeon in the Temple of Haeinsa, on the slopes of Mount Gayasan, is home to the Tripitaka Koreana, the most complete collection of Buddhist texts, laws and treaties extant, engraved on approximately 80,000 woodblocks between 1237 and 1248. The Haeinsa Tripitaka woodblocks were carved in an appeal to the authority of the Buddha in the defense of Korea against the Mongol invasions. They are recognized by Buddhist scholars around the world for their outstanding accuracy and superior quality. The woodblocks are also valuable for the delicate carvings of the Chinese characters, so regular as to suggest that they are the work of a single hand.
The Janggyeong Panjeon depositories comprise two long and two smaller buildings, which are arranged in a rectangle around a courtyard. As the most important buildings in the Haeinsa Temple complex, they are located at a higher level than the hall housing the main Buddha of the complex. Constructed in the 15th century in the traditional style of the early Joseon period, their design is characterized by its simplicity of detailing and harmony of layout, size, balance and rhythm.
The four buildings are considered to be unique both in terms of their antiquity with respect to this specialized type of structure, and for the remarkably effective conservation solutions that were employed in their design to protect the woodblocks from deterioration, while providing for easy access and storage. They were specially designed to provide natural ventilation and to modulate temperature and humidity, adapted to climatic conditions, thus preserving the woodblocks for some 500 years from rodent and insect infestation.
The Haeinsa Temple complex is a famous destination for pilgrimages, not only among Korean Buddhists, but Buddhists and scholars from all over the world.
Mr. JunHee Moon
119 Dongseo-ro, Hapcheon-eop, Hapcheon-gun
Hapcheon, Republic of Korea