Full set of gilt-bronze accessories from the 6th-century tomb
The Korea Times reports that additional finds were recovered from a small 1,500-year-old tomb in eastern South Korea where a pair of gilt-bronze shoes were recently excavated from a Silla-era royal tomb complex in Gyeongju, some 371 kilometers southeast of Seoul. These included a small gilt-bronze coronet, gold earrings, bracelets, a silver ring, and silver belt, and a beaded chest lace, or a piece of regalia worn across the chest and shoulders.
In addition to the gilt-bronze shoes and gilt-bronze accessories, it added, found in May at the same tomb. For the first time since the early 1970s, the CHA has excavated a complete body of ornaments of a buried person from a tomb in the Silla era.
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 chest lace, 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.
Along with a pair of gold earrings and a beaded chest lace, 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 small.
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.
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.”
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. (Yonhap)