국립중앙박물관 NATIONAL MUSEUM OF KOREA

Highlights
Buddhist Bell from Cheonheungsa Temple
  • Exhibition Name

    Bronze Bell with Inscription: “Cheonheungsa”

  • Culture/Period

    Goryeo Dynasty

  • Materials

    Metal - Copper Alloy

  • Category

    religion - Buddhism - ceremony - temple bell

  • Dimensions

    H. 174.2cm

  • Designation

    National Treasure 280

  • Accession Number

    Deoksu 2445

  • Location

    Metal Crafts Gallery

Bells play a crucial role in a variety of Buddhist services and rituals; their sound is considered auspicious, and is believed to bring peace and comfort to all sentient beings, even those who are suffering in hell. This bell, from the site of Cheonheungsa Temple near Mt.Seonggeosan in Chungcheongnam-do Province, is widely regarded as one of the largest and most beautiful bells from the Goryeo period. Experts agree that the bell is a masterpiece in terms of manufacturing technique and artistic style. Made in the early Goryeo period, it retains elements of the Unified Silla style, combined with the emerging aesthetics of Goryeo. For example, the crown on the bell is formed by a single dragon head with a shape that is reminiscent of Silla designs. But the distinctive features of the dragon’s head—wide eyes, flared nostrils, and protruding fangs—are characteristic of the Goryeo era, as is the magic pearl in the dragon’s mouth, a Buddhist symbol known as a “Cintamani.” Moreover, the exterior of the bell is decorated with a design resembling a Korean traditional reliquary plaque, which is another Goryeo element. The surface also bears an inscription telling where and when the bell was made.