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[Treasure] Unified Silla candlesticks shine light on design

Nov 27,2019
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Name: Gilt-bronze Candlesticks with Inlaid Crystal Ornaments

Period: Unified Silla

Location: Yongsan District, central Seoul

Status: National Treasure No. 174


This pair of gilt bronze candlesticks studded with amethysts are 36.8 centimeters (14.5 inches) in height and 21.5 centimeters in diameter.

At the base of the candlesticks, six animal-shaped legs are supported by a flower-shaped ring. The central pillar rises from the base to a circular support made up of double petals with a short stem rising above it. The candleholder sits on top.

The surface of the pedestal was engraved and decorated with evenly distributed amethysts, some of which still remain in place.

The candlesticks retain their historic and artistic value even though the gold has peeled away in many places and a lot of the amethysts are now missing.

It is still unknown where these two candlesticks were discovered, but as historic artifacts, they effectively show off the industrial art and metalwork produced during the Unified Silla Period (A.D. 676-935).

Metalwork from this time period is characterized by the inclusion of beautiful, decorative elements, rather than just utilitarian functionality.