3cm Gold Metal From 8th Century is Discovered in Korea

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Photo from Gyeongju National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage

The Gyeongju National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage announced the discovery of a gold leaf artifact from 8th century Unified Silla that was found during the excavation in November, 2016. The artifact was initially discovered as two separate pieces, 20m apart from each other. But later on, it was determined that these pieces fit together to form a single artifact.

Looking at the artifact closely, you’ll see the birds located on the left and right sides and flowers surrounding the birds. These tiny patterns must be viewed with a magnifying glass or microscope.

The artifact embodies the essence of 8th-century Unified Silla Period metalwork and is considered one of the finest examples of metalwork among all artifacts discovered in Korea.

Some remarkable features of this gold leaf artifact : 99.99% purity gold, 0.3g heavy, 0.04mm thick, 3.6cm wide, and 1.17cm long with intricately engraved bird and flower patterns. The bird patterns were carved at 0.05mm thickness, finer than human hair (0.08mm).

From June 17 to October 31, the exhibition entitled “The Blooming Flowers and Birds on 3cm Gold Leaf” will be held at Cheonjongo, the excavated relics storage building of the Gyeongju National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage.

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