Coordinates: 35°50′27″N 129°14′01″E / 35.8407034°N
129.2336637°E / 35.8407034; 129.2336637
Bunhwangsa (literally "Fragrant Emperor Temple") is a temple complex
from the Old
Silla era of Korea. It is located in Gyeongju. The
temple is recorded to have been built in 634 under the auspices of
Queen Seondeok. Today the temple is still used by a small group of
worshipers but in its heyday, the temple covered several acres and was
one of the four main temples of the
Silla Kingdom used by the state to
ask the Buddha to bless the kingdom. The ruins of Hwangnyongsa
Temple lay nearby. It is part of the
UNESCO world heritage site
Gyeongju Historic Areas.
1 National Treasure No. 30
2 Gyeongsangbuk-do Cultural Property Material No. 9
3 Gyeongsangbuk-do Tangible Cultural Property No. 97
4 Gyeongsangbuk-do Cultural Property Material No. 317
5 Flagpole holder
6 See also
8 External links
National Treasure No. 30
Bunhwangsa Pagoda around Buddha's Birthday.
A notable ruin at the temple is the
Bunhwangsa Pagoda (Kr. Bunhwangsa
Seoktap, literally "Stone Pagoda of Bunhwangsa"), the oldest dated
pagoda from the
Silla Kingdom. The pagoda is National Treasure of
Korea No. 30 and was designated by the South Korean government on
December 20, 1962. The pagoda is based on prototypes from the Tang
Dynasty in China. However, unlike Tang pagodas which were made from
Silla architects used stones of black andesite cut like
brick. Each story of the pagoda is progressively smaller in size
and each story’s roof is made by placing bricks in a staircase-like
fashion. Today, only three tiers of the pagoda remain. Ancient records
state the pagoda originally stood nine stories tall.
A close up view of one of the pairs of Mighty Diamond Men. Also, note
the debris visible within the doorway.
Although once hollow, the collapsed stories of the pagoda have filled
the center of pagoda with debris. An excavation and partial
restoration in 1915 by the Japanese uncovered a sarira, or relic box,
of the cremated remains of a priest hidden in between the second and
third stories. Precious artifacts such as gold and stone
ornaments, coins, scissors, and a needle were also found in the pagoda
which indicated that a woman of royal blood, perhaps even Queen
Seondeok herself, had once owned the objects. Each side of the
pagoda has what may have once been doors into the interior of the
pagoda. Two figures guard each doorway and are known as Geumgan-yeoksa
(literally "Mighty Diamond Men" from Skt "vajra-yakṣa") or
Inwangsang, guardians of the Buddhist canon. Each corner of the
one-step platform upon which the pagoda rests holds a guardian lion
statue. Granite lotus blossoms also adorn the pagoda.
A contemporaneous pair of stone pagodas were built at the Baekje
Mireuksa Temple and the
Bunhwangsa Pagoda is often compared with them
although those stone pagodas more closely imitated wood architectural
Gyeongsangbuk-do Cultural Property Material No. 9
Located at the temple complex is a well called Hogukyongbyeoneojeong
(호국용변어정) or Samnyongbyeoneojeong from the
The well's octagonal upper part extends above the ground
70 cm/27.6 in height while the lower part of the well is
cylindrical. The structure of the well represents Buddhism's essence.
According to legend in the Samguk Yusa, in 795, the 11th year of King
Wonseong, missionaries from the
Tang Dynasty visited Silla. The
missionaries changed three dragons protecting
Silla into small fish
and took them away to Tang China with them, hidden in bamboo.
The next day two women, identifying themselves as two of the dragons'
wives, living in Dongji (pond) and Cheongji (pond), came to the king
and asked the king to retrieve their dragon husbands taken away by the
Tang missionaries. The king immediately sent his men in to bring back
the dragons, permitting them live in the
Gyeongsangbuk-do Tangible Cultural Property No. 97
Monument pedestal of Hwajaengguksa (화쟁국사) erected in 1101 at
the wish of King Sukjong. Only the stele, with its original
Gyeongsangbuk-do Cultural Property Material No. 317
Yaksayeorae (약세여래), a statue built in 1774, during the 50th
year of King Yeongjo.
Also of note is the flagpole holder which survives from the
Queen Seondeok of Silla
List of Korea-related topics
Korean Buddhist temples
National treasures of Korea
National treasures of North Korea
^ a b c d e f g h Asian Historical Architecture
^ a b c d e f g "경주 분황사 모전석탑 (慶州 芬皇寺
模塼石塔)". 문화재검색. Cultural Heritage Administration.
Retrieved 30 March 2017.
^ "Visit Korea". Retrieved 2011-01-12.
Asian Historical Architecture:
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