[National Treasure] Gilt-bronze Reliquary

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[National Treasure] Gilt-bronze Reliquary

Name: Gilt-bronze Reliquary from Sakyamuni Stupa of Dorisa Temple

Period: Joseon (1392-1910)

Location: Gimcheon City, North Gyeongsang

Status: National Treasure
This hexagonal sarira reliquary was found inside Sejonsari Stupa of Dorisa Temple in Seonsan, North Gyeongsang. It is famous for holding Buddha's ashes. The stupa is in the shape of a bell. Each face is 17 centimeters (0.56 feet) and consists of three parts: the ceiling, body, and walls.  
The original gilding still remains intact on the surface today. The angles of the hexagon produce holes on each wall. The two faces of the body were carved by using lines and dots harmoniously into a Buddhist, the image of the universe called cheonbu, and Buddha's guardian carrying a drum called geumgangjeo
The rest of the faces, of the Four Guardian Kings, are engraved in lines only. The artistic value of these is the mysterious arrangement of damuncheon (a guardian whose name means being able to listen to the heavens) in which he appears to be lifting a tower. 
The eaves might have been used to attach decorations for metal rings remain on the ceiling. Some experts also think that there might have been a top to the case in the shape of an unblossomed lotus flower for what seems to be the remains of its stub is still attached. Most scholars believe this case was produced during the Unified Silla period (668-935) since octagonal shapes were in fashion at the time.

BY YIM SEUNG-HYE [yim.seunghye@joongang.co.kr]
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