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North Stupa of Yeongoksa Temple, Gurye

구례 연곡사 북 승탑 ( 求禮 鷰谷寺 北 僧塔 )

Heritage Search Detail
Classification National Treasure
Name of Cultural Properties North Stupa of Yeongoksa Temple, Gurye
Quantity 1 stupa
Designated Date 1962.12.20
Age Early Goryeo
Address Yeongoksa Tempple, 806-16, Piagol-ro, Toji-myeon, Gurye-gun, Jeollanam-do

Built to enshrine the Artifact of an eminent monk in the northern part of Yeongoksa Temple, this stupa consists of three parts -- base, body, and finial – that are basically octagonal and are set up on a square stone foundation. The temple housing the stupa had been known as a center for Zen practice until the early Goryeo Period (918~1392), and it has two more fine stupas: the East Stupa (National Treasure No. 53) and the Buddhist Monk Soyo’s Stupa. This particular monument seems to have copied the East Stupa, which is generally regarded as the finest of all in terms of artistic merit; accordingly, it has almost the same size and form, although the decorative details are slightly different.
The base of the stupa consists of three parts: the lower, middle, and upper bases. The first part is double-tiered with the lower tier carved with clouds and the upper tier carved with a lotus with 26 petals. The middle base is also double-tiered and is carved with railing and lotus blossoms, whereas the upper base contains Kalavinka, the imaginary bird of immortality inhabiting the Buddhist paradise, carved in relief. The main body of the stupa has borders carved on all of its faces and contains incense burners as well as the Four Guardian Kings, who are protectors of the Buddhist law, carved in relief. The roof stone is elaborately carved with rafters and tiles including decorative roof-end tiles, with the finial consisting of four phoenixes with open wings and lotus blossom.
No record remains to inform us for whom the monument was erected; today, it is called North Stupa simply because it is located north of Yeongoksa Temple. While the East Stupa was built in the late Unified Silla period, the North Stupa is believed to have been erected in the early Goryeo Period. This stupa is representative of the octagonal stupas of the period.