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Silla Gold Crown

Silla Gold Crown


The Gold Crowns of Mycenae, Bactria, and Silla By Barbara Steinberg

According to archeological finds by Heinrich Schliemann, an elliptical gold diadem with removable crown-ornaments was first discovered in a Mycenaean funerary mound called Grave Circle A, or the “Grave of Women”, c. 1600-1500 BC.

The Mycenaeans were an Indo-European people who settled in Southern Greece along the Agean Sea in the Bronze Age (1600-1100 BC). They came in contact with other cultures through conquest, creating a society based on a warrior aristocracy that Homer immortalized in The Iliad. The Mycenaeans were an agricultural people. However, after the Thera eruption weakened Crete’s Minoan civilization, the Mycenaeans conquered the sea-trading culture, c. 1420 BC.

A hypothesis: Sea peoples could have spread this crown design to land-trading equestrian nomadic tribes through commerce and war as early as 1420 BC.

Narrower bands comprise the next evidence we find. After Alexander the Great died in 323 BC, his empire spanned three continents. It was split up among his generals, the Diadochi, who at first wore white ribbons and then gold bands called diadems.

Before Alexander conquered it, Bactria (now in present-day Afghanistan) was located in the eastern part of the Achaemenid Persian Empire and connected eastern and western cultures through trade and war. The Silk Road, which began during the Han Dyansty, c. 206 BC, brought traders, merchants, and nomads to Bactria. In war, the Yuezhi, a nomadic tribe who supplied jade to the Han Chinese, moved south to conquer Bactria after they were defeated by the Xiongnu, c 124 BC.

This gives us a significant connection between the Greeks and Han Chinese, as well as the Central Asian and Scytho-Siberian nomads, when it comes to the gold crown from Tillya-Tepe in Bactria. It was found in the tomb of a nomadic Saka woman, c. 100 AD. A plethora of round gold pendants adorns the band and ornaments, which come off easily so they can be packed away.

The Silk Road is also how this multi-cultural-influenced design must have arrived in the Silla Kingdom of Korea, c. 400 AD. Lasting from 57 BC to 935 AD, Silla was renowned for its gold. Along with jade decorations, three prongs forming the Chinese character 山 “mountain” shape the front ornaments. This crown was excavated from the north mound of Hwangnam Daechong Tomb and resides at the Gyeongju National Museum in South Korea.

Crowns like this were cut from a thin sheet of gold and were so delicate, some speculate they were worn only for ceremonial occasions or made as a burial ornament. In nomadic fashion, here is how the crown pendants were detached from the band.

I also see a Scytho-Siberian nomadic influence in the tiny mirrored gold pendants. What a startling impression that must have made when those pendants reflected sunlight, linking the king with the sun on Earth.

In the Ancient World, crowns represented nobility, conquest, religious significance, cultural tradition, and the exchange of ideas. Before the helmet design, they were made like this. Both ways of thinking seem so unrelated, but in tracing the history of this ancient design, we can map the development of ideas in a world we could hardly imagine.


The thematic exhibition, "Gold Crown, a symbol of Silla" displays three National Treasures, including the gold crown excavated from Cheonmachong Tomb in 1973. The Gold Crown from Cheonmachong Tomb (National Treasure No.188), currently housed in the Gyeongju National Museum, visits Seoul for the second time since it was firstly introduced to the public in 1974 at the NMK's special exhibition "Distinguished Treasures of Silla."

This exhibition is prepared in link with the special exhibition, "Golden Splendors: The Royal Tomb of Silla, Hwangnamdaechong," so that NMK visitors can appreciate the two most representative gold crowns of Silla from Cheonmachong Tomb and Hwangnamdaechong Tomb in a single visit.

The Cheonmachong gold crown is a typical Silla gold crown that has three branch-shape prongs and two deer antler-shape prongs established on the headband. Sophisticatedly decorated with numerous pieces of gokok (comma-shaped blue jade beads) and dalgae (dangling chains of gold in the shape of leaves), the Cheonmachong gold crown is regarded as one of the finest Silla gold crowns.


Silla was one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea , and began as Saro-guk located in Gyeongju. From the 6 th 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.

Once described as &ldquo a land with striking gold and silver artifacts, &rdquo 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. Hwangnamdaechong is the largest ancient tomb from the Silla dynasty. The tomb is a double mound for the burial of both the 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 &lsquo Buindae (Madame &rsquo s belt) &rsquo were found than in the south tomb. Thus, the north tomb can be presumed to have belonged to the queen.

The gold crown has three tree-like prongs (interpreted to represent the Chinese character for &ldquo mountain &rdquo ) and two antler-like prongs. Silla gold crowns are very similar to Siberian shaman 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.

Location: Silla Gallery at the Prehistory and Ancient History section (1st Floor)


The Gold Crowns of Mycenae, Bactria, and Silla

According to archeological finds by Heinrich Schliemann, an elliptical gold diadem with removable crown-ornaments was first discovered in a Mycenaean funerary mound called Grave Circle A, or the “Grave of Women”, c. 1600-1500 BC.


from the National Archaeological Museum in Athens

The Mycenaeans were an Indo-European people who settled in Southern Greece along the Agean Sea in the Bronze Age (1600-1100 BC). They came in contact with other cultures through conquest, creating a society based on a warrior aristocracy that Homer immortalized in The Iliad. The Mycenaeans were an agricultural people. However, after the Thera eruption weakened Crete’s Minoan civilization, the Mycenaeans conquered the sea-trading culture, c. 1420 BC.

A hypothesis: Sea peoples could have spread this crown design to land-trading equestrian nomadic tribes through commerce and war as early as 1420 BC.

Narrower bands comprise the next evidence we find. After Alexander the Great died in 323 BC, his empire spanned three continents. It was split up among his generals, the Diadochi, who at first wore white ribbons and then gold bands called diadems.


1) Diadotus Soter, governor of Bactria c. 250 BC, wearing a white ribbon. 2) Diadem, 300 BC, from the National Archaeological Museum in Athens

Before Alexander conquered it, Bactria (now in present-day Afghanistan) was located in the eastern part of the Achaemenid Persian Empire and connected eastern and western cultures through trade and war. The Silk Road, which began during the Han Dyansty, c. 206 BC, brought traders, merchants, and nomads to Bactria. In war, the Yuezhi, a nomadic tribe who supplied jade to the Han Chinese, moved south to conquer Bactria after they were defeated by the Xiongnu, c 124 BC.

This gives us a significant connection between the Greeks and Han Chinese, as well as the Central Asian and Scytho-Siberian nomads, when it comes to the gold crown from Tillya-Tepe in Bactria. It was found in the tomb of a nomadic Saka woman, c. 100 AD. A plethora of round gold pendants adorns the band and ornaments, which come off easily so they can be packed away.

The Silk Road is also how this multi-cultural-influenced design must have arrived in the Silla Kingdom of Korea, c. 400 AD. Lasting from 57 BC to 935 AD, Silla was renowned for its gold. Along with jade decorations, three prongs forming the Chinese character 山 “mountain” shape the front ornaments. This crown was excavated from the north mound of Hwangnam Daechong Tomb and resides at the Gyeongju National Museum in South Korea.

Crowns like this were cut from a thin sheet of gold and were so delicate, some speculate they were worn only for ceremonial occasions or made as a burial ornament. In nomadic fashion, here is how the crown pendants were detached from the band. I also see a Scytho-Siberian nomadic influence in the tiny mirrored gold pendants. What a startling impression that must have made when those pendants reflected sunlight, linking the king with the sun on Earth.

In the Ancient World, crowns represented nobility, conquest, religious significance, cultural tradition, and the exchange of ideas. Before the helmet design, they were made like this. Both ways of thinking seem so unrelated, but in tracing the history of this ancient design, we can map the development of ideas in a world we could hardly imagine.

For more scholarly research, please examine our Resource Library and these books:


Gold Crowns of Silla

  • Author : The Korea Foundation
  • Publisher : The Korea Foundation
  • Pub. Date : Jan 2011
  • Cover : Hardcover
  • Dimensions (in inches) : 12.51 x 9.25 x 1.02
  • Pages : 144
  • ISBN : 978-89-86090-38-3

Gold Crowns of Silla: Treasures from a Brilliant Age

The gold crowns and ornaments recovered from the Gyeongju royal tombs reflect the historical circumstances of Silla in the fifth and sixth centuries, when its artistic culture flourished. The design motifs and symbols of the crowns express the aspirations and dreams that the royalty felt for the preservation of their kingdom and this style of gold crown is unique to a particular period of Silla.

The book introduces the gold crowns and related articles excavated from five royal tombs: the Great Tomb at Hwangnam, Heavenly Horse Tomb, Gold Crown Tomb, Auspicious Phoenix Tomb, and Gold Bell Tomb. The descriptions are accompanied by numerous photographs and related details. In addition, three insightful essays by art history scholars are included, which explain the gold culture of Silla, the significance of Silla gold crowns, and the historical background of Silla&rsquos exceptional culture.

Published by Korea Foundation, Edited by Lee Han-sang

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CollectionsArthur Llewellyn Basham
Title: GoldȌrown of King of Silla,Ȍ.Ȅth⃎ntury
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Silla: Celebrating The Art of Korea’s Golden Kingdom

The Korean peninsula’s tumultuous contemporary history belies a prosperous past in which the ancient kingdom of Silla, which unified the warring factions of the peninsula, was renowned for its riches. Silla was particularly famous for the artifacts and regalia its craftsmen created out of gold and their skill in molding this luxuriant material is revealed in an exhibition at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art entitled Silla: Korea’s Golden Kingdom.

The Kingdom of Silla began life as one of the many small dominions which proliferated across the Korean peninsula in the 1st century AD, but developed over the course of the next five centuries into the most powerful and richest kingdom on the peninsula. Its establishment of a centralized monarchy, an aristocratic class and its unification of Korea were immensely influential in the development of Korean identity, and the eventual emergence of a Korean state. Silla reached its peak between 400 and 800 AD, following King Naemul’s establishment of a hereditary monarchy and the annexation of the Eastern Kingdom of Kaya. This period of military and political dominance marked the emergence of a refined and opulent aristocratic culture and the development of the craftsmanship for which Silla would become legendary, and which is displayed in all its glory in the Silla: Korea’s Golden Kingdom exhibition.

The artifacts on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition reveal not only the skill and artisanal ability of Silla’s craftsmen, but also the values of the aristocrats who commissioned these pieces, and the spirituality and significance with which they were imbued. The majority of the extant Silla relics were excavated from the tombs of aristocrats in the Kingdom’s capital of Gyeongju and thus also offer an insight into the beliefs and practices which surrounded burial ceremonies and which informed people’s understanding of the afterlife. The items found in these tombs, the largest of which contained a double burial of a king and queen, reveal what the Silla rulers wished to carry with them from this life to the afterlife. Artifacts such as gold regalia, including a crown-and-belt set, gold and glass-bead jewelry, vessels of clay and precious metals, horse trappings and fittings for riding, and weapons were all regularly interred with the dead, as a means of ensuring a bountiful afterlife.

An intriguing aspect of the Silla artifacts excavated from aristocratic tombs is the number of foreign made luxury goods, including pieces from as far away as the Mediterranean, such as Roman style glass vessels. These reveal that the seemingly hermetic Silla Kingdom in fact existed in an already globalised society, in which international trade was well established. The trade routes which brought these items from the West to Korea were also conduits for cultural exchange, as the flow of traditions and practices, as well as inventions and ideas, from China into Korea now reveal. Buddhism was one such idea, which travelled from India through China to Korea and eventually Japan. It was officially adopted by the Silla Kingdom in 527, and initiated a complete transformation in Silla society and culture, which influenced the creation and use of the gold items that they so prized in this culture. What were once decorative regalia became spiritual icons and reliquaries, and the statues from this latter period are devoted to the worship of Buddha and other transcendent beings.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Silla: Korea’s Golden Kingdom exhibition reveals a new side to ancient Korea, illustrating both the cultural riches of this early society and the changes that swept over the peninsula over the course of the Silla Kingdom’s existence. Organized in connection with the National Museum of Korea, Seoul, and Gyeongju National Museum, it is a vital piece of cultural exchange which tells a story most Western viewers will not be aware of. It deepens our collective understanding of the relics of the past, and the complex nexus of religion, culture and power which brought them into being.


The History Of Dental Crowns: From Gold To Porcelain

At Carolina’s Dental Choice, our goal is to make sure that you have a happy, healthy, and beautiful smile. To do that, many patients need a crown to cover one of their teeth but they aren’t exactly sure what the purpose of the crown is or what the procedure entails. Don’t worry we can answer any questions you have about dental crowns and provide you with a little more information on the history of crowns.

First things first: What is a crown? A crown is essentially a cap that covers a tooth. Crowns are placed over a tooth to improve its shape, size, strength, and even help its appearance. A dental crown can be needed for many reasons, such as:

  • Protecting a Tooth – If a tooth is cracked or even decaying, a crown can protect a weak tooth from further damage.
  • Restoring a Tooth – A broken tooth needs a crown to restore the functionality of the tooth.
  • Covering a Filling – Sometimes, if a tooth has a large filling and there is not a lot of tooth left, a crown will be used to cover and support the tooth and filling.
  • Holding a Dental Bridge in Place – A dental bridge is something that dentists use to bridge a gap between teeth when a tooth is missing. A crown may be used to cover this gap.

Dental crowns actually have a very interesting history that dates back thousands of years. Four thousand years ago, Luzon, an island in the Philippines, gold was used to modify teeth. Skeletons have been found with gold caps and gold tooth replacements. Evidence suggests that this practice was popular with the chiefs of the time and was a symbol of wealth and power in society. An ancient Italian civilization, the Etruscans, have also been discovered as using gold for dental crowns as far back as 700 B.C. It is thought that wealth and luxury were important to these people and they put gold dental crowns to cover their teeth. Some skeletons were also found with what are essentially the first dental bridges: artificial teeth were held in place with a gold wire which then banded the fake teeth to real teeth. Pretty cool!

Europeans didn’t start utilizing modern dental practices until around the 1400s. They started by carving dentures from bone or ivory and around the 1700s, human teeth were actually the most popular tooth replacement. But this practice did not work well so it quickly fell out of practice. Porcelain dentures became the most successful way to replace teeth and by the 1800’s, porcelain was the standard material for crowns. The first modern dental crown was created by Dr. Charles Land in 1903. He created an all-porcelain jacket by taking a broken tooth and reconstructing it with a porcelain cover. This essentially made the tooth look brand new. This dental crown practice was used until the 1950s, which is when dental technologies started developing into what we now use as dental crowns.

Today, dental crowns can be made with four different types of materials:

  • Ceramics – These crowns are made with materials that are porcelain based. The benefit to these fillings are the natural look they give teeth, as the color blends well with natural teeth. Porcelain crowns are best for restoring the front teeth because of this. These crown resist wear-and-tear but can become brittle in cases with heavy biting.
  • Porcelain Fused to Metal – These crowns are attached to the tooth with a metal base and porcelain is then fused to the metal. These crowns make the restoration stronger than if a crown is made of only porcelain. These crowns also better prevent dental decay from recurring. Porcelain fused metal crowns are very durable.
  • Gold Alloys – While there are commonly called gold crowns, these crowns are made up of gold, copper, and other metals. This creates a strong material that supports the tooth. This is a strong material that doesn’t wear or fracture easily. This material also works well with natural gum tissue.
  • Base Metal Alloys – These crowns are made with metals that are strong and resist corrosion. When preparing for crowns made with this material, the dentist is able to remove the least amount of healthy tooth. Additionally, this material is gentle on other teeth that touch the crown.

A question that comes up a lot when discussing crowns is “How long will my crown last?” Depending on the material used to make the crown and the dental care of a person, a crown can have a varying lifespan. On average, dental crowns can last from ten to thirty years. However, there are factors such as dental hygiene practices that affect how long a crown can last. Some crowns may crack after some time due to trauma and sometimes the problem is with the tooth itself. Also, some crowns are simply not fitted properly.

Some tips to prolonging the life of a crown:

  • Brush Your Teeth – It’s always the first thing on the list but brushing your teeth is the most important way to take care of your teeth and your crowns.
  • Avoid Hard Foods – If you regularly bite into hard foods or ice, your crown is at risk of cracking.
  • Wear a Mouth Guard – If you are prone to grinding your teeth in your sleep or participate in sports, wearing a mouth guard protects your teeth and your crowns.
  • Pick the Best Material for You – There are many choices for which material to use for a dental crown, make sure you talk with your dentist and pick the best material for your teeth.

Carolina’s Dental Choice wants to help you understand how dental crowns work. There are a lot of questions to ask if you need a crown: What is it? How long will it take? How much will it cost? We at Carolina’s Dental Choice are happy to answer any questions you may have. If you have questions about replacing current dental crowns or are just ready for a dental checkup, give us a call at 704-289-9519.


Home > Culture > Korean Heritage

National Treasure No. 191 [CULTURAL HERITAGE ADMINISTRATION]



Name: Gold Crown from the North Mound of Hwangnamdaechong Tomb
Period: Silla
Location: Yongsan District, central Seoul
Status: National Treasure No. 191


The height of the golden crown is 27.5 centimeters (10.83 inches), and the length of the decorations that hang down are between 13 and 30.3 centimeters.

This golden crown is representative of the caps made during the Silla Dynasty (57 B.C. to A.D. 935).

Three decorations in the shape of Chinese letters, meaning mountain, are attached to the front of the crown.

Decorations in the form of deer horns are attached to both sides.

The 16 pieces of blue jade of the highest quality were set for the three Chinese characters, 9 pieces of jade to form the deer horns and 11 pieces on the head girdle.

The crown is studded with a total of 77 pieces of jade.

The balanced arrangement of gold decorations in the form of round shapes make a brilliant and lustrous golden crown.

Suhasik decorations are hung from the cap in thick rings, three pieces on both sides.

The longest of the suhasik decorations are on the outside and the shortest on the inside.

The ends of the suhasik are decorated in blue jade, like that of the head girdle, and golden decks formed leaves on the outside.

The head girdle and suhasik are assumed to belong to one another.

The issue is only questionable because the suhasik was discovered separately from the crown.

This crown is typical of the crowns worn during the Silla Dynasty, but is more ornate and is adorned with more precious jades.