The Buddha and the Sacred Site

Covered Stupa-Form Buddhist Reliquary with Knob in the Shape of a Stupa Finial

  • 19
  • Korea
  • Unified Silla period, 8th–9th century
  • Bronze
  • H. 9 1/2 x W. 9 3/4 in. (24.1 x 24.7 cm)
  • Harvard Art Museum, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Anonymous Gift, 1944.57.29.A–C

This reliquary was cast in three parts: the circular container is fitted with a lid in the form of a multitiered stupa crowned by a pearl and is soldered to the high, flared base. The practice of enshrining relics in stupas spread to Korea in the Three Kingdoms period (57 BCE– 668 CE). During the Silla dynasty, the most popular placement for a reliquary like this one was inside a stone casket or cavity under a foundation stone, or, alternatively, at the base of a pagoda.

PHOTO CREDIT: Imaging Department © President and Fellows of Harvard College

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