This stone stele, erected to wish for the prosperity of Heungnyeongsa Temple and honor the life and work of the Buddhist monk Jinghyo, is preserved in a nearly intact condition.
The stele rests on a tortoise-shaped base and is topped by a head stone with sculpted dragon heads.
The tortoise at the base has a head that is similar to a dragon’s head and holds a cintamani in its half-open mouth.
The paws and claws, sculpted highly realistically, are quite striking.
The surface of the tortoise shell, close to a hemisphere in shape, is filled with long hexagonal patterns.
There is a rectangular-shaped hole in the middle for fitting in the stele.
The head stone features four dragons with their heads turned toward the center in a manner to face each other.
Unlike the eyes, snout and mouth that are realistic and detailed, the scale on the body of the dragons is cursorily rendered, in shallow carving.
The epigraph recounts the life story of Jinghyo, from birth to death.
According to the epigraph, Jinghyo entered the priesthood at the age of nineteen, in Janggoksa Temple and died in 901 (the 5th year of King Hyogong’s reign).
The epigraph ends with praises on his lifetime achievements.
The stele was erected in 944 (the 1st year of King Hyejong’s reign of Goryeo), forty-four years after Jinhyo’s passing.
The epigraph was composed by Choe Eon-wi, calligraphed by Choe Yun and carved by Choe O-gyu.