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Ceramics of the Shilla dynasty

Shilla earthenware was first produced around the first century BC and was in use for the next thousand years. It was made from clay that was widely distributed in the Kyoungju area. Most Shilla earthenware was fired at a high temperature of 1000º C, leaving it with a grayish-blue tinge. Some, however, has a different appearance because it was first coated with the natural oil of pine needles, which burned to ashes in the firing process.

The types of Shilla pottery vary with their uses. Everyday types include Jangyungho, Gobae, Gakbae and Youngbae. ('Bae' means cup.) Golho was used for the dead, while the Shingu type, Cha type and horseman flask type ceramics were of the finest quality.

Thousands of these fine ceramics have been found in the tombs of Shilla kings, such as Chenmachong, Hwangnamdaechong, and Geumgwanchong. Accordingly, many royal tombs in Kyoungju are looked upon as treasuries of ceramics. The skills used in making these Shilla pots show a high degree of originality and creativity and had great influence on Japanese Seuhyechi earthenware in the middle of the fifth century AD. Today, reproductions of Shilla earthenware are widely made.

Replica of the golden crown

The original gold crown was unearthed in the Tomb of the Flying Horse. This gold crown is 32.5 cm high, and its decorations are 25.5 cm in length and 20 cm in diameter. (National Treasure No 188)

The gold of this crown is thicker than the gold of other crowns.

When it was discovered, the crown crown was on the head of the firstborn son. It consists of a broad band of gold which fits onto the head. Graceful, outwardly-curving arms of gold stand up vertically from this gold.

The arms have a triple row of trident decorations at the front and a double row at the back. The vertical arms at the back look like deer’s antlers.

The tridents are the characteristic shape of the Chinese character, chool, which is Kyoungju’s quintessential symbol.

This crown is of a kind which is a typical Shilla design.

This replica gold crown very accurately reflects the Shilla-dynasty style.

Workshop :

Samsunbang 746-7538

Materials used :

inside - red copper / outside - gold-plate

Types available :

actual size of the original, 2/3 of full size, or 1/2 of full size


Transportation : by car 20 minutes, by local bus (numbers 11, 101, 12, 102). Get off in
     front of the Craft Village.

Ceramic mounted warrior flask with horn spoots

This is thought to be a ritual vessel which was used in the memorial ceremony for ancestors.

On the clay base stands a horse that has two short spouts. One, which is quite short, is on the haunch of the horse, and the other, longer spout is on the horse’s breast. If we pour water into the longer spout, it will come out of the longer spout on the chest. The legs of the horse look rather short and stocky, but the head has been molded very realistically. The man riding on the horse must be a nobleman of the Shilla dynasty, judging by such luxurious things as his three-cornered hat, pants made of deerskin and the finely-decorated horse.

The other man standing beside the horse is wearing a tall conical hat. He has a piece of towelling tied around the topknot in his hair. In his hand, he is carrying a (percussion) wood-block. From all this, we might suppose that he is a trusted servant who is leading the way for his master.

The meaning of this is that the horseman will ascend into the sky for the dead, and it also symbolizes the translation of the dead to heaven.

Although it has been commonly assumed that this is a toy, it must be a ritual vessel along the same pattern as other animal earthenware. In other words, it is hollow inside, and the spouts, which make it look like flask, are similar to those on other animal earthenware. This animal earthenware first came to light in the Gaya Area, but this mounted-warrior flask can be placed in the Shilla period.

Many replicas have been made of horseman flasks of this kind, especially in the Folk Crafts Village.


Further information: Folk Crafts Village (054) 746 - 7207

Silver cup

This silver cup was discovered in the northern Huangnam tomb, and it has been placed around the fifth or sixth century of the Shilla dynasty.

A Chinese phoenix and human figures are depicted on the side of the cup. The lines of the design are slightly embossed. The bird and the figures were first sketched on the inside of the bowl, and hammered out from within.

The replica is a direct copy of this silver cup.

The photo is of the replica. The original is in the Gyeongju National Museum.


Workshop :

Samsunbang 746-7538

Materials used :

99% pure silver

Weight :

100 -120g

Korea Science & Technology Building, Rm 406, 635-4 Yeoksam-Dong, Kangnam-Ku, Seoul 135-703, Korea
Phone:+82-31-201-2506 / Fax: +82-31-202-1204 / E-mail:sglee@khu.ac.kr