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Stele of Buddhist Monk Sucheol at Silsangsa Temple, Namwon

남원 실상사 수철화상탑비 ( 南原 實相寺 秀澈和尙塔碑 )

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Classification Treasure
Name of Cultural Properties Stele of Buddhist Monk Sucheol at Silsangsa Temple, Namwon
Quantity 1 stele
Designated Date 1963.01.21
Age Unified Silla
Address Silsangsa Temple, 94-129, Ipseok-gil, Sannae-myeon, Namwon, Jeollabuk-do

This stele was built to commemorate the life and achievements of Buddhist Monk Sucheol at Silsangsa Temple. Sucheol, a monk of the late Silla Dynasty, led an ascetic life at Silsangsa after leaving Simwonsa Temple. Upon his entry to Nirvana at the age of 77, Queen Jinseong granted him and the stupa posthumous names in 893 (the seventh year of the reign of Queen Jinseong). The stele, which is defaced and worn, carries an inscription about the life of Sucheol from birth to death, including details about the construction of a stupa for him. Although Sucheol died at Silsangsa Temple, the inscription refers to him as Buddhist Monk Sucheol of Simwonsa Temple. The identity of the author of the stele’s inscription is unknown.
Unlike the general style of steles at that time, this one does not have a tortoise-shaped pedestal; rather, the pedestal has a rectangular stone engraved with six panel decorations; and the base of the stele is decorated with a huge lotus flower design. Two dragons are engraved in a symmetrical pattern on the head of the stele, as if fighting over a magical bead. The center of the head of the stele is inscribed with the words “Neunggabowoltapbi” (Neuggabowol Stele). The overall style of engraving is formal with little ostentation.
The stele is thought to have been erected during the reign of King Hyogong (897-912) and follows the calligraphic style of Gu Yang-sun, a famous calligraphic artist of ancient China, which was popular around that time.