The memorial stele for King Taejong Muyeol of Silla

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The memorial stele for King Taejong Muyeol of Silla


This stele is a stone monument that was built in front of the royal tomb of King Taejong Muyeol during the Silla era. It was constructed in 661, and the inscription was written by Kim In-mun, the second son of King Muyeol and a well-known master calligrapher. King Taejong Muyeol (Kim Chunchu) was the very man that formed the foundation for the unification of the Three Dynasties of Korea together with Kim Yu-sin (a general of the Silla Era) by winning the support of the Tang Dynasty.

Monuments built in the Unified Silla Dynasty were influenced by the Tang Dynasty of China and often have tortoise-shaped pedestals and ornamental tops in the form of hornless dragons. The Monument for the Royal Tomb of Taejong Muyeol (Taejong Muyeol Wangneung-bi) is a good example of this style.

The main body of the monument has disappeared, but the tortoise-shaped pedestal and ornamental top remain.

The tortoise extends its head upward and legs forward as if getting ready to move forward. There are large honeycomb-shaped hexagonal carvings on its back, and lotus flower designs decorate the part meant to support the main monument. The ornamental top in the form of a hornless dragon is made of three dragons on each side tangled to support a magic stone that bestows omnipotence.

The words “Taejong Muyeol” are inscribed on the center to honor the hero of the monument.

Name: Memorial Stele for King Taejong Muyeol of Silla

Period: Early part of the Unified Silla Period

Location: Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang

Status: National Treasure No. 25

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