The Korea Herald

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Goryeo bronze bell at Naesosa made National Treasure

By Choi Si-young

Published : Jan. 9, 2024 - 21:26

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The Bronze Bell of Naesosa, in Buan County, North Jeolla Province. (Yonhap) The Bronze Bell of Naesosa, in Buan County, North Jeolla Province. (Yonhap)

The Cultural Heritage Administration held a ceremony Tuesday to celebrate the designation of an 802-year-old bell from the Goryeo Kingdom as a National Treasure.

Known as the “Bronze Bell of Naesosa,” a Buddhist temple in North Jeolla Province, the bell was named a National Treasure two weeks ago, an elevation of its status from Treasure, also a state designation.

“It’s a textbook bell of the 13th century,” said Choi Eung-chon, the CHA chief, in a speech, noting the bell created in 1222 is the largest among all the bells made in the late Goryeo era, from 918-1392. The bell also embodies the traditions of the earlier Silla Kingdom, Choi added.

According to the state agency, the Naesosa bell offers a fuller picture of temple bell production in Korea as answers to frequently asked questions -- who built it, who gave the order and when it was completed -- are all engraved on the bell.

“A master named Han Joong-seo is known for making not only this bell, but others as well,” Choi said during a speech at a ceremony held at Naesosa on Tuesday, describing the craftsman as having inspired him to specialize in bronze bells. The bells were used to announce the time and to gather people for rituals.