Silla was one of the Tree Kingdoms of Korea, and began as Saro-guk located in Gyeongju. Gyeongju is a coastal city in the far southeastern corner of North Gyeongsang province in South Korea. It is 370 km southeast of Seoul, and 55 km east of the provincial capital, Daegu.
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From the 6th century, when Silla proclaimed a detailed system of law, its politics and social status were founded on Buddhism, and the systematic succession of an ancient kingdom was achieved. In addition, Silla accomplished the unification of three kingdoms by strengthening its national power based on the production of iron. Wooden chamber tombs with a stone mound, Buddhism, and gold crowns symbolize Silla culture, and many different excavated artifacts such as drinking glasses show the international character of Silla culture.
Discribed once as “a country with striking gold and silver artifacts,” Silla was a kingdom with a splendid gold culture. This gold crown was excavated from the North tomb of Hwangnamdaechong in Gyeongju (the capital of the Silla Kingdom) and is the most representative Silla gold artifact.
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Hwangnamdaechong is the largest tomb made during the Silla dynasty. The tomb is a double-mound for a Silla king and queen, and is shaped like a gourd. In the North tomb, more ornaments including a silver belt ornament with an inscription of ‘Buindae (the meaning of Madame’s belt)’ were found than in the South tomb. In this sense, this North tomb can be presumed to have belonged to a woman. A gold crown indicates the owner’s political and social class.
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The gold crown has three tree-like prongs (interpreted as the Chinese character for “mountain”) and two antler-like prongs. Silla gold crowns are very similar to a Siberian shaman’s crown in shape. For this reason, based on the gold crown as well as the wooden chamber tombs with a stone mound, it is assumed that the ruling class at that time came from the northern region.
There are various type of Silla crowns and they are already designated in National treasures of South Korea. The crowns are very fragile with more than one kilogram weight.