The Buddha and the Sacred Site


  • 20
  • Korea
  • Unified Silla period, late 9th–early 10th century
  • Bronze and copper alloy
  • H. 6 1/8 x L. 4 3/8 x W. 4 3/8 in. (15.5 x 11.1 x 11.1 cm)
  • Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Dr. Herman Herzog Levy Bequest Fund, 992.124.1

Four identical Buddhas are cast on this reliquary. Each is seated on a lotus pedestal; their right hands perform the gesture of calling the earth to witness, and their left palms are turned upward in the gesture of meditation. This imagery references the Buddha's defeat of the demon Mara at Bodh Gaya. The posture, garment, and lotus-petal aureole of each Buddha repeat those of the Buddha enshrined in the earlier mid-eighth-century Korean cave-temple Seokguram in the Gyeongju region, the former capital of the Unified Silla kingdom. Inside this reliquary is a square case that contains a tiny gilded-bronze urn for a relic or flask.

PHOTO CREDIT: With permission of the Royal Ontario Museum © ROM. Photo: Brian Boyle

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