[Rediscovery of Silla (4)] Reason why over ten legs are attached in Byeoru of Silla

연합뉴스 / 2022-06-23 16:22:13
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▲ This photo, provided by the Gyeongju National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage, shows Byeoru excavated in Gyeongju Wolseong. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

 

Gyeongju, June 23 (Yonhap) -- Byeoru, a tool for writing a letter by dipping it in ink, was a precious tool which only higher classes were able to use, who were literate.


In general, the number of excavated Byeoru is very small, usually found within 10 pieces in domestic heritage sites. However, they were extensively excavated in Gyeongju Wolseong, where royal palaces of Silla were located. 

 

About 140 pieces of Byeoru were discovered at the building site inside Wolseong and hundreds of pieces of Byeoru were also excavated in Haeja, a pond surrounding the palace. 

 

Since it was necessary to write documents on paper at major national facilities, the building site where a lot of Byeoru were excavated is presumed to be a major government office during that period.


Byeoru of Silla which were excavated at Gyeongju region are mostly made of soil, and there are also some Byeoru made of stone or wood.

 

 

▲ This photo, provided by the Gyeongju National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage, shows Byeoru with legs excavated in Gyeongju Wolseong. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

 

Interestingly enough, Byeoru of Silla has legs in showy patterns. Byeoru which has several legs is called “Dagakyeon,” mainly three to as many as ten.


Besides, patterns of legs of Byeoru are very fancy, on which animal faces or foot shapes are engraved.

 

Special Byeoru with a lot of legs where animal patterns are engraved on are extensively excavated at the center of the capital of Silla. Hence, it can be presumed that “Dagakyeon” with a lot of legs where animal patterns are engraved on, was a high-quality product used at royal palace of Silla.

 

 

▲ This photo, provided by the Gyeongju National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage, shows Byeoru excavated in Gyeongju Wolseong. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

 

Then where did Byeoru of Silla originate from? 

 

Judging from the production technology and similarity of form, it can be said that Byeoru of Silla is deeply related to that of Chinese during the Sui Dynasty and Tang Dynasty, or that of Baekje. 

 

Initially, Byeoru of Silla was made similar to that of ancient China or Baekje during the Sabi period, but after the appearance of Byeoru with patterns of animal faces, it became the representative Byeoru form of Silla. 

 

From the 9th century, Byeoru became smaller, with legs becoming shorter or even disappearing, finally changing into portable stone Byeoru in square shape from the Goryeo Dynasty.

 

 

▲ This photo, provided by the Gyeongju National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage, shows “Gguri” and “Duduri.” (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

 

The Gyeongju National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage created representative characters called “Gguri” and “Duduri,” modernly reinterpreting the shape of pig and goblin expressed in the legs of Byeoru.

Since 2019, “Gguri” and “Duduri” have been promoting Gyeongju Wolseong, holding the millennial history of Silla.

(This article is translated from Korean to English by Kim Jimin.)

(END)

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