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Divine Bell of King Seongdeok

unknownUnified Silla, 771

Gyeongju National Museum

Gyeongju National Museum
Gyeongju-si, South Korea

The Divine Bell of King Seongdeok, which was crafted in 771 CE, during the reign of King Hyegong, is also known as the Bell of Bongdeoksa Temple. This masterpiece served as a model for Buddhist bells in the Unified Silla Period, and demonstrates how advanced the metal crafting technology of that time really was. On top of the bell, two dragon-shaped ornaments create a ring from which the bell was hung, and behind the neck of each dragon ornament is a reverberation pipe. Both the top and bottom edges of the bell feature beautiful engravings of peony vines, while similar designs adorn the borders of the four rectangular panels on the upper part of the bell, surrounding nine lotus flower designs. Below these panels, two “apsaras” (Buddhist nymphs) sit facing one another, each gripping an incense burner with handle. Between the apsaras, approximately 1,000 characters explain the reason for making the bell and list the names of the people who participated in the process.

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  • Title: Divine Bell of King Seongdeok
  • Creator: unknown
  • Date Created: Unified Silla, 771
  • Location: Gyeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do Province, Korea
  • Type: ritual instrument
  • Rights: Gyeongju National Museum
  • Medium: H 366.0㎝

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