A scholar’s salvation

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A scholar’s salvation

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Name: Stone Coffin for Heo Jae

Period: Goryeo Dynasty, 1144

Location: National Museum of Korea

This is the stone coffin of Heo Jae, who was a scholar during the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392). The coffin shows that cremation was in use during this period, due to the influence of Buddhism.

The four directional deities - black tortoise, white tiger, phoenix and blue dragon - as well as the 12 animals of the zodiac are engraved on the coffin’s exterior. The inscription of these symbols signifies a wish to be saved by the gods after death.

The inside of the coffin is filled with writings documenting Heo’s life.

*The photos and text for Treasure Trove are provided by the National Museum of Korea. For more information, call (02) 2077-9000 or visit www.museum.go.kr
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