A day with the Shillas

After yesterday’s exploration of what my friend Penny is pleased to call Teletubby land, otherwise known as the burial mounds of the Shilla dynasty, we wanted to know more.

We went to Gyeongju National Museum. We saw the most extraordinary Shilla artefacts, from the Neolithic era right through to the early 10th century, when the dynasty finally ran out of steam.

Such exquisite early tools and pottery. Then, when the Shillas recognised the need to bury their kings by equipping them for the next world, what exquisite jade and fine gold jewellery and ornaments.

How come we learn about the ancient Egyptians, but not about these sophisticated and forward-thinking people? It really is our loss. I want to know more.

The only pictures I’ve got to show at the moment are the gold accessories that a sixth century Shilla monarch would have worn in life, and taken with him to the after-life on his death.

11 thoughts on “A day with the Shillas”

  1. Your question about why we learn so much about some ancient peoples and not others is a very good one–I think the Egyptians mostly just had good PR people. This gold work looks phenomenal–I hope we’ll see more about this at a later date?

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  2. Re the different ancient peoples question – I think that’s because we (in UK) still have a somewhat Eurocentric approach to our past and that means the Ancient Egyptians, the Graeco-Roman period and then Western Christendom trajectory. There have definitely been attempts to disrupt this rather Victorian approach certainly in the case of art history with the 1982 publication of Honour and Fleming’s ‘A World History of Art’. Hasn’t really filtered through to the likes of Gove or Morgan, and too soon to know whether Greening will challenge the current traditional, Conservative reading of history.
    Looking forward to seeing more photos of the metalwork.

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    1. I think there’s very little hope of enlightenment any time soon. How long have children whose ethnic origins lie well outside Europe been educated in Br

      I think there’s little hope of change. No account of the histories of those whose ethnic origins lie well outside Europe has ever been taken in our education system. Why start now, eh?

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      1. Yes, it’s disheartening, but you can only keep wishing that it will gradually change. I’m hoping that the Millennials have a more inclusive, global view as being ‘internet natives’ they already know it’s a big and varied world out there!

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