Incredible Precision Of 1,700-Yr-Old Painting Technique

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Oegil Kim Kyeong Ho’s incredibly intricate sutra transcriptions are stunning even at first glance but they become even more unbelievable once you hear the story behind them. Like this video by Flushing Town Hall shows, Kim follows the 1,700-year-old tradition of sutra transcription that has its roots in the Kingdom of Goryeo (918-1392). Back then, Buddhism was officially supported by the king and state, which led to a flourishing of Buddhist art. Gilt-painted manuscripts, which were both expensive and time-consuming to make, were also commissioned. Unfortunately, this delicate technique was eventually largely replaced by printing. Thanks to artists like Kim, however, it survived to this day. “When I first held the brush, I was five years old,” Kim told NY Daily News. “It’s been 45 years so far.” Using a brush made of animal hair, the 50-year-old creates painstaking images in gold and silver. He can work for up to 10 hours a day without a break on a single piece of his artwork in temperatures of around 100 degrees. The high temperatures are necessary for the specialized paint.

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