In the ancient world, the Korean kingdom of Silla (57 B.C.–A.D. 935) was renowned as a country of gold. Through over 100 spectacular objects created between A.D. 400 and 800—Silla’s seminal period—the landmark exhibition Silla: Korea’s Golden Kingdom presents the remarkable artistic achievements of a small kingdom that rose to prominence, embraced cosmopolitanism, and eventually gained control over much of the Korean peninsula. The exhibition is the first in the West to focus exclusively on the arts of Silla. Among the highlights are exquisite regalia discovered from the tombs of royalty and the elite; unique treasures made in places between China and the Mediterranean and preserved in Korea; and Buddhist icons and reliquaries reinterpreting pan-Asian styles with native aesthetics.
The exhibition features several designated National Treasures and many works with few parallels outside of Korea, including a graceful and charming gilt-bronze sculpture of a bodhisattva in pensive pose, known as National Treasure 83.
Image: Crown. Korea, Silla kingdom, second half of 5th century. Excavated from the north mound of Hwangnam Daechong Tomb. Gold and jade; H. 10 3/4 in. (27.3 cm). Gyeongju National Museum, Korea, National Treasure 191.