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Buddhist Reliquary from East Pagoda at Gameunsa Temple Site
SN29
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

The four sides of the outer casket are engraved with the four heavenly kings and handles in the shape of animal heads are fixed in place with nails. The inner reliquary is comprised of three parts, a base, body, and canopy. Each side of the base bears deep elephant's eye shapes decorated with carvings of the guardian generals and celestial beings making offerings. In the middle of the body is a bowl shaped receptacle for the sarira surrounded by figures of the four heavenly kings and monks. The canopy is made with a thin sheet of bronze with elaborate openwork decoration and hanging pendants. This Buddhist reliquary set is a relic that epitomizes the quintessence of Unified Silla metal-craft technique. It is designated as Korean Treasure No. 1359.

History of the Object
The Gameunsa Temple was founded by King Sinmun in 682 in memory of his deceased father, King Munmu who unified the Three Kingdoms. Now only the east and west pagodas and the site of the temple are left. Discovered during dismantling and repair of the east pagoda at Gameunsa Temple site in 1996, this Buddhist reliquary is similar to the one found in the west pagoda in 1959. The set consists of a gilt-bronze outer casket, a pavilion shaped reliquary and sarira bottle. The reliquaries found in the east and west pagodas have their reliable production date being the end of 7th century, which was the kingdom's transition period from the Three Kingdoms to the Unified Silla. The royal court sponsored the enshrinement of the reliquaries in the pagodas which allowed refined and splendid craftsmanship of the reliquaries.

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Type
Decorative Art 
Materials
Gilt Bronze 
Measurements
Height Outer casket 30.2 cm, Inner Reliquary 18.8cm  
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Gyeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do province, Korea 
Geography
Korea 
Time period
AD 7th century ~ AD 7th century 
Creation date
7th Century; 682 (2nd year of King Sinmun); Unified Silla 
Function
Buddhist Ritual 
Acquisition
Found in 1996 at Gameunsa Temple site, Gyeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do province 
Copyright
National Museum of Korea 
Acknowledgements
- National Museum of Korea, National Museum of Korea Digital Museum 2.0, Cultural Foundation of National Museum of Korea, Seoul, 2007. - National Museum of Korea, National Museum of Korea 100 Highlights, and Graphics, Seoul, 2006. 
Owner
National Museum of Korea 
Museum
National Museum of Korea 
Credit line
National Museum of Korea 

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