Photo gallery: Korean artist visits library to open new Hanke exhibit

  • man in white tunic with glasses bends over blue paper drawing with bamboo pen
  • man in white tunic with glasses dips bamboo pen into small round white dish
  • room with three large display screens showing Korean characters on blue paper; man sits at front of room before audience bending over work table drawing on projected paper
  • Man with short dark hair and white tunic wearing one white glove holds blue paper illustrated with blue and gold mandala
  • Man bends over red, blue and gold illuminated drawing holding bamboo pen upright in right hand
  • Man in purple tunic vest stands next to woman with dark hair who holds long sheets of paper they are looking at
    Master Kim with Jude Yang
  • Two men at left and two women at right stand talking in front of large screen that reads in part "and Sacred Scriptures"
    Master Kim, Hwansoo Kim, Michelle Light, Jude Yang
  • A young man and woman in audience both with dark hair sit next to older woman with dark hair smiling
  • Bald man in dark suit and blue tie stands next to woman with long blonde hair wearing blue scarf and flowered dress. At right is man with dark hair wearing white tunic, with hands crossed. They face camera smiling.
    Hwansoo Kim, Meghan Howard, Master Kim
  • woman with short dark hair, black jacket and black and white striped blouse holds paper in right hand, gesturing to her heart with left
  • Young woman with brown hair and long bangs in grey jacket and white shirt stands between man at left and woman with hair at right, in conversation
    Master Kim,Yeonwoo Joh, Jude Yang
  • Panoramic view of gallery space with wood cabinetry, glass table and wall cases. In foreground is visible a long indigo-blue scroll with gold Korean characters
March 12, 2024

To celebrate the opening of “Copying Sacred Texts: A Spiritual Practice,” Kyeongho Kim, master calligrapher and artist, traveled from South Korea to speak about—and demonstrate—his meditative practice of hand-copying Buddhist texts, or sutras. Master Kim’s work is featured in the new exhibit. His elegantly rendered sutras are on display alongside handwritten and illuminated texts from Christian, Islamic, and Judaic faiths, all of which share the long tradition of transcribing religious texts. 

Master Kim has dedicated 50 years to the centuries-old practice of hand-copying sutras. With the help of overhead projectors and high-intensity heat lamps—to keep his gold and silver paints at temperature—Master Kim demonstrated his meticulous practice for a transfixed audience.

Before his presentation in Sterling Library’s lecture hall, Master Kim was interviewed for National Public Radio by David Dunavin of WSHU.

To open the event, Meghan Howard, a scholar in the Department of Religious Studies, spoke about the tradition of sutra copying in Buddhism. Co-curator Hwansoo Kim, associate professor of Korean Buddhism and Culture; Katherine Rupp, program director, Council on East Asian Studies; and Michelle Light, director of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, also presented introductory remarks. Yeonwoo Joh, a graduate student in the Yale Divinity School, served as Master Kim’s translator during his interview and presentation. The event was co-sponsored by the Council on East Asian Studies.

Read more about the exhibit “Copying Sacred Texts: A Spiritual Practice,” on view in the Hanke Gallery, Sterling Memorial Library, through Aug. 11.

On April 1, at 4 p.m., co-curator Jude Yang, librarian for Korean Studies, will discuss the exhibit in a Mondays at Beinecke Zoom event.

—Deborah Cannarella

Photos by Robert Lisak