The memorial stele for King Taejong Muyeol of Silla
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