Inscription on the Bell of King Seongdeok the Great

unknownUnified Silla, 771

Gyeongju National Museum

Gyeongju National Museum

This bell has inscriptions in two different places on its surface. On one side, which faces east today, contain inscriptions of Chinese prose; the other side, currently the west side, contains a Chinese poem spanning over fifty lines of four characters each. The title of the inscription reads “Divine Bell of the King Seongdeok the Great,” which reveals the name of this bell. The inscription informs that King Gyeongdeok (r. 742-765) cast a massive bell using 72,000 kg of copper to wish solace upon his father, King Seongdeok (r. 702-737). It also adds that, as King Gyeongdeok never lived to see the bell completed, his son King Hyegong (r. 765-780) succeeded his father’s will and finally completed the bell on the December 14, 771 (the year of Sinhae), the seventh year of his reign (6th year of the Dali era, King Daizong’s reign, Tang dynasty China). In addition, the ranks and names of the people who participated in the production of the bell are also included in the inscription.

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