Korean Buddhist Temple Latticework


The wonderfully ornate Upright Diagonal Floral Grid latticework that adorns the doors of  Guryongsa  Temple in Buk-gu, Busan.

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All around  Korea, in the various Buddhist temples that dot the landscape, there are a countless amount of beautiful wooden latticework adorning entryways to the temple halls. The entryways that are adorned with various wooden lattice work are geometric and floral in design. And while the geometric and floral latticework are intricate and usually gorgeous in design, the exact meaning as to why the lattices are geometric and floral in design may not be as obvious.

In total, there are usually three kinds of designs for floral latticework at Korean Buddhist temples. The first is a Diagonal Grid, the second is an Upright Diagonal Grid, and the third is the Upright Diagonal Floral Grid. While there are still other designs at Korean Buddhist temples, these are the three most common that adorn Buddhist halls.


The wonderfully colourful latticework that adorns the main hall at Anyangam Hermitage in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do.

The Diagonal Grid sounds the way that it’s actually designed with intricate cross-hatching of vertical and horizontal wooden strips. In Korean, this design is called “jeongjamun.” The wooden lines run at a forty-five degree angle.


The stunning floral designs from the main hall at Haedong Yonggungsa Temple in Gijang, Busan.

The Upright Diagonal Grid, on the other hand, possesses the same diagonal pattern with vertical strips added at each intersection of the diagonal pattern. This mesh-like pattern is believed to ward off evil spirits as it does with the Diagonal Grid design.

Finally, the Upright Diagonal Floral Grid is a mix of floral and geometric designs. By far, this design is the most ornately designed of the three. The floral design is the main design that adorns the main hall at a temple. The flowers that adorn the main hall latticework are the lotus, peony, sunflower, and chrysanthemum. And yet, while these are said to be the flowers that make up the floral designs of the latticework, the flowers are usually too abstract to actually identify. Usually, the wooden flowers have six petals, but they can have four. The reason why the floral design decorates the wooden lattices at Korean Buddhist temples is that flowers are used to pay respect and reverence to the Buddha.


The uniquely stylized latticework from the Myeongbu-jeon shrine hall at Eunhasa Temple in Gimhae.

While there are countless examples of beautiful lattices throughout Korea, the best are situated at  Donghaksa  Temple,  Haedong  Yonggungsa  Temple, Mitaam Hermitage, Anyangam Hermitage in Yangsan, Eunhasa Temple in Gimhae, and Guryongsa in Busan.

Even the latticework at Korean Buddhist temples are filled with meaning. To the uninitiated eye, a lot of what is housed at a Korean Buddhist temple may seem like nothing; however, as the gorgeous latticework proves, this simply isn’t the case.

The potted flowers that grow on the front doors of the main hall at Mitaam Hermitage in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do.

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