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Buddhist reliquary

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Possibly from Hoeamsa temple, South Korea or Hwajangsa temple, North Korea. 1939, Yamanaka and Company, Boston; 1939, sold (by exchange) by Yamanaka to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 8, 1939) ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: In January 2009, the MFA received a request from the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism for the return of this reliquary on the basis of its religious significance. Recognizing that its contents, the sarira – bronze and glass fragments, which are symbolic remains of the monks Naong and Jigong – hold religious significance, the MFA considered returning the contents and retaining the reliquary itself, which had been legally acquired from a Boston dealer in 1939. The museum was advised by various Korean museums and government officials, including the Korean National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage, not to separate the reliquary from its contents. The reliquary, with the sarira inside, remains in the MFA’s possession and is on view in the Korean galleries.

Credit Line

Charles Goddard Weld Collection, by exchange

Sarira Reliquary

Korean, Goryeo dynasty, 14th century

Object Place



Stupa: H. 22.2 cm (8 3/4 in.), w. of Base: 12.1 cm (4 3/4 in.) Miniature stupas: H. 5 cm (1 15/16 in.), w. of base: 3 cm (1 3/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Silver and parcel gilt and repousse decoration




Ritual Objects