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7th-century Buddhist statue allowed to be displayed in New York

All Headlines 16:28 August 09, 2013

SEOUL, Aug. 9 (Yonhap) -- In a major reversal of its earlier decision, the Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) said Friday it has decided to allow a precious Korean Buddhist statue to be shown in a special exhibit at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art later this year.

The Gilt-bronze Pensive Maitreya Bodhisattva -- the national treasure No. 83 -- will be shown at Met's exhibition called "Silla: Korea's Golden Kingdom," scheduled for Oct. 29-Feb. 23.

On July 29, the CHA had prohibited the National Museum of Korea from taking three items, including Maitreya, citing concerns of damage from overseas travel and too many showings at foreign exhibitions.

In an about-face, the CHA reversed its decision on the Maitreya, a move officials say will provide a good chance to effectively raise the world's awareness of traditional Korean culture.

The move came after the National Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art strongly urged the CHA to reconsider its previous decision, pledging their utmost efforts to ensure the safety of the artifacts.

However, the CHA still remains unchanged on its decision to prevent the remaining two items -- a horse-riding warrior-shaped pottery and a long-necked earthenware jar with figurines -- from being shown at the exhibit. Both are also national treasures of South Korea.

The three items are some of the most valuable of the 26 artifacts from the ancient Korean kingdom of Silla (57 B.C.-A.D. 935) that the National Museum agreed to provide for the Met's exhibition.

The Met is one of the world's three largest museums with annual visitors of 6 million.


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