Sunday, April 14, 2013

More National Treasures

Inside the halls were more national treasures. Made from gilt-bronze, two of the Buddha statues were cast around the late 8th or 9th centuries. Each was placed on top of beautifully carved altars. Behind the statues were figurative murals, many of which were faded and difficult to discern. I liked the relief design of hands behind one of the non-treasure Buddhas, radiating out from the head in concentric circles, each circle containing diminishing sizes of hands with an eye in each. The ceilings of the halls were also painted. Pink lotus-shaped lanterns hung from the ceiling. Along the wall were small white lamps with faux flickering lights; perhaps this was a fire prevention solution. Entrance was allowed in only some of the halls. Photography, unfortunately, was forbidden in all the halls.

Another national treasure, the sarira pagoda, looked more like a stone lantern, sheltered under its own open pavilion. The lotus flower was prominently featured in many of its carvings and designs. Faces of the Buddha, Bodhisattvas, and sinjang were carved in the rounded central part of the pagoda. Believed to be carved during the Goryeo Dynasty (beginning in 918 AD), it appears to be stylistically influenced by art from the Silla Dynasty. The Sarira Pagoda was taken to Japan during Japanese occupation, but in 1933 was retrieved and rebuilt. 

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