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National Treasure

Stupa at Godalsa Temple Site, Yeoju

여주 고달사지 승탑 ( 驪州 高達寺址 僧塔 )

Heritage Search Detail
Classification National Treasure
Name of Cultural Properties Stupa at Godalsa Temple Site, Yeoju
Quantity 1 stupa
Designated Date 1962.12.20
Address 148-5, Yeogang-ro, Yeoju-gun, Gyeonggi-do

This stupa of the Goryeo Period (918~1392) had originally been located at the precincts of Godalsa, a Buddhist temple established in 764 when Unified Silla was under the rule of King Gyeongdeok. The temple enjoyed great prosperity during the early Goryeo since it was protected by its rulers after King Gwangjong (925-975), eventually disappearing although no record remains to inform us when.
The stupa, marked by an octagonal base, has preserved its original condition comparatively well although the finial lacks perfection. The base consists of three tiers whose middle tier is adorned with an impressive array of elaborate carvings. It is more circular than octagonal, with the surface carved with two tortoises and four dragons surrounded by auspicious clouds all expressed in a realistic manner. All the carvings of the middle tier exhibit fine artistic skills and overflowing energy, whereas those around the upper and lower tiers feature elegant lotus designs.
The main body of the stupa where the Artifact of an eminent monk are enshrined is carved with the Four Heavenly Kings and a pair of doors closed with a padlock. The carving of the doors is rather plain and much stylized, whereas the roofstone is significantly thick with large -- but coarsely carved -- floral decorations on each corner. Above the roofstone is a bejeweled canopy (bogae) in the shape of a roof supported by a spherical stone.
The style of this stone stupa is characterized by the use of unique carving techniques developed by Goryeo artisans probably during the 10th century, with its basic elements clearly reflecting the principles formed during the Unified Silla period. The carving techniques and the artistic details of the carved decorations clearly show that it is a work produced by one or more master artisans of Goryeo.