Inscriptions on Metals and Stones


The Korean people have created a brilliant culture in their long history. Their national cultural heritage includes inscriptions on metals and stones.

To hand down to posterity important events and facts of historical significance, the Korean people carved them on plates of copper, iron, gold, silver and other metals or on stones. They were varied in kinds with rich contents. Some kinds of old inscriptions on stones are found even now in all parts of the country including Pyongyang and Kaesong. They were created in different times, showing the social system of each period and social and historical facts including the political and cultural lives and customs of the people in a broad and diversified way. Among them are new documents of scientific value. In particular, the inscriptions on metals and stones in the period of Three Kingdoms (277 BC–the mid-7th century) including the Koguryo dynasty (277 BC–AD 668) contain important materials indispensable to clarifying the Korean history and culture in depth. Among those of the period of the feudal Joson dynasty(1392–1910) are plenty of valuable stone monuments showing the patriotic spirit of the Korean ancestors against the foreign aggressors.

The Korean stone monuments in the Middle Ages(277 BC–1860s) are distinguished in their shapes and refined as objects of formative arts.

Typical of the stone monuments of Korea was that the monument body was placed on the back of the stone turtle and then the head decorated with an ornamental dragon was placed on the body. This style was most developed in the first half of the Koryo dynasty(918–1392). The characters carved on stone monuments are of very excellent brush strokes showing vividly the high cultural attainments and artistic skills of the Korean nation. They are valuable legacies of the brush writing art. Therefore, the inscriptions on metal and stone monuments are of great merit as data for scientific research and also as works of formative arts.

Lots of inscriptions on metals and stones—the monument to the mausoleum of King Kwanggaetho of the Koguryo dynasty, carved stones used in the construction of the walled city of Pyongyang, the Pyongyang Bell, the monuments to the Great Victory in Pukgwan and to the Hyonhwa Temple— are important objective reminders of the long national traditions of the Korean people.


The Monument to the Great Victory in Pukgwan.


The Monument to the Hyonhwa Temple.



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