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Reliquaries from the West Three-story Stone Pagoda at Gameunsa Temple Site
Heritage Search Detail
Classification Treasure
Name of Cultural Properties Reliquaries from the West Three-story Stone Pagoda at Gameunsa Temple Site
Quantity
Designated Date 1963.01.21
Age Unified Silla Period
Address Gyeongju National Museum 186, Iljeong-ro, Gyeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do

These are sarira implements, including a bronze rectangular box and a sarira reliquary. Sarira are the bead-shaped ashes of monks or Buddhas which are believed to be a consequence of their ascetic austerities. Sutras, sermons of Buddha, are also worshipped as sarira. The box where the reliquary was placed is made of bronze, and it was severely eroded when it was found. It is a rectangular with a corn-shaped lid, and it is 31cm tall. On the four sides are engraved the Four Guardian Kings. Beside these, there are rings decorated with flower patterns. The rings are fixed with bronze nails. To the edge is attached a thin decoration plate which is filled with flowers and leaves, and the circumference of the lid is also attached to this plate. The Four Guardian Kings appear to be protecting the four doors. They are similar to the guardian kings of the Tang Dynasty of China in their posture or patterns of armor, but the style of expression is rather similar to that of Central Asia. The sarira reliquary consists of three parts, the square base, the body which holds the sarira bottle, and the finial made of crystal. It looks rather like a wooden building. The base and the body are relatively well preserved, but the upper part above the body is so severely eroded that it is unrecognizable. On the base of the reliquary are inscribed the symbolic images of the elephant’s eyes, and are placed the Guardians of Buddhism which appear to be pillars. Onto the upper part of the base are handrails around, within which there are four statues of playing instruments (juaksang) and four statues of children. The sarira bottle was put in a looped outer case, and on the case was placed the crystal finial. When the West Three-story Stone Pagoda was dismantled for repair, all kinds of sarira implements were found in the third story. Though it has been much eroded over a long time, it is a cultural property precious for its delicate and beautiful carving on every side.