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Full set of gilt-bronze accessories unearthed from 5-6th century Silla grave


A full set of accessories ranging from a gilt-bronze coronet to shoes has recently been discovered from a grave believed to be about 1,500 years old, left as they were worn by the deceased at the time of burial, the South Korean cultural authorities said in a press release.


Full set of gilt-bronze accessories unearthed from 5-6th century Silla grave
Silla aristocrat buried with full jewellery [Credit: Cultural
Heritage Administration]

The Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) said the accessories, including a gilt-bronze coronet, gold earrings, silver bracelets and a silver ring, were recently excavated from a Silla-era royal tomb complex in Gyeongju, some 371 kilometers southeast of Seoul.




They were in addition to the gilt-bronze shoes and coin-shaped gilt-bronze accessories found at the same tomb in May, it added. The CHA said it is the first time that a full set of ornaments of a buried person has been excavated from a Silla-era tomb since the early 1970s.


Full set of gilt-bronze accessories unearthed from 5-6th century Silla grave
Detail of crown, gold earrings and beaded chest piece
[Credit: Cultural Heritage Administration]

The deceased buried in the Hwangnamdong Tumulus No. 120-2, presumed to be either an aristocrat or person of royal blood, wore a gilt-bronze coronet, a pair of earrings and a pair of gilt-bronze shoes, according to the CHA. A chestlace, belts, bracelets and rings were also found at the same time.


According to researchers, the gilt-bronze cap-like coronet features three tree-like branches and two antler-like prongs, with the outer band decorated with heart-shaped holes and jade and gold marbles.


Full set of gilt-bronze accessories unearthed from 5-6th century Silla grave
Pottery buried at head of the grave [Credit: Cultural
 Heritage Administration]

Along with a pair of gold earrings and a beaded chestlace, the person also carries a silver belt and a handful of silver bracelets and rings. One bracelet on the right wrist is embellished with more than 500 yellow beads about 1 millimeter across.




Both pairs of shoes had T-shaped carve-out patterns on the surface, decorated each with gilt-bronze "dalgae," a bracelet-like ornament made with beads. Usually, shoes buried in ancient tombs of Silla were created for funeral ceremonies.


Full set of gilt-bronze accessories unearthed from 5-6th century Silla grave
Detail of silver belt buckle and bracelets [Credit: Cultural
 Heritage Administration]

The CHA said the height of the owner of the tomb is estimated at 170 centimeter, as it is 176 cm from the middle of the gilt-bronze cap to the shoes. But the sex of the deceased was difficult to discern at the moment, it added.


"This is a small-sized tomb, but the owner has the full set of accessories. It is expected to be possessed by a noble or royal-blooded person," a researcher from the CHA said. "We've found many new things from this project. We will keep studying the case."


Full set of gilt-bronze accessories unearthed from 5-6th century Silla grave
Gilt-bronze shoes and coin-shaped ornaments
[Credit: Cultural Heritage Administration]

The excavation was part of a project between the CHA and the Gyeongju city aimed at restoring major historic ruins linked to the capital of the Silla dynasty.


Gyeongju is home to three UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites: Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto, Yangdong Village, and the Gyeongju Historic Areas. Daereungwon is part of the Gyeongju Historic Areas.


Source: The Korean Times [September 04, 2020]


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