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Bronze Bowl with Inscription

UnknownGoguryeo, 415年(dated 415)

National Museum of Korea

National Museum of Korea
Seoul, South Korea

In 1946, the National Museum of Korea excavated a Silla tomb in Gyeongju, and among the artifacts they found was this inscribed bronze bowl. Hence, the tomb has come to be known as the “Houchong Tomb,” which means literally “Tomb of the Hou Bowl.” The bowl, which was made using a mould, has the symbol “井” appearing on its body and 16 characters prominently appearing on its base, reading: “Ulmyonyeon gukgangsang gwanggaetoji hotaewang howoosib” (乙卯年國罡上廣開土地好太王壺杅十ッ). This inscription can be interpreted as “the hou bowl made in ulmyonyeon (415 CE) in celebration of King Gwanggaeto the Great.” Gwanggaeto the Great was the 19th king of the Goguryeo Kingdom, who reigned from 391 CE until his death in 413, so the bowl seems to have been made around the one-year anniversary of his death. Houchong Tomb has been dated to the early sixth century, which means that this Goguryeo bronze bowl somehow found its way into a Silla tomb approximately one hundred years after it was made.
Finding a Goguryeo bronze artifact in a Silla tomb demonstrates the close relationship and the cultural exchange that those two kingdoms shared at the time. In fact, many Goguryeo objects have been found at Silla sites from the same time period. Examples from the Gyeongju region include the bronze jar with four ears from Geumgwanchong Tomb, and the gold earrings and gilt-gold shoes from the North Mound of Hwangnamdaechong Tomb.

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  • Title: Bronze Bowl with Inscription
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: Goguryeo, 415年(dated 415)
  • Location: Houchong Tomb in Noseo-dong, Gyeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do Province, Korea
  • Physical Dimensions: h19.4 cm
  • Original Title: '호우' 글자가 있는 청동 그릇
  • Type: Metalwork
  • Rights: national museum of korea

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