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ISSN : 1225-0562(Print)
ISSN : 2287-7258(Online)
Korean Journal of Materials Research Vol.30 No.9 pp.453-457

Manufacturing Technique of Gilt-Bronze Objects Excavated from Tomb No.1(Donghachong) in Neungsan-ri, Buyeo

Yong-bi Shin1,2,Min-hee Lee1,Gyu-ho Kim2†
1Conservation Sciences Lab., Buyeo National Museum of Korea, Buyeo 33156, Republic of Korea
2Department of Cultural Heritage Conservation Sciences, Kongju National University, Gongju 32588, Republic of Korea
Corresponding author E-Mail : (G.-H. Kim, Kongju Nat’l Univ.)


Tomb No. 1 (Donghachong) of the Buyeo Neungsan-ri Tomb complex (listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site), is a royal tomb of the Baekje Sabi Period. One wooden coffin unearthed there is an important relic of the funerary culture of the Baekje. This study examines the production techniques of gilt-bronze objects attached to the wooden coffin excavated from Donghachong. The base metal of the gilt-bronze object is pure copper, with single α phase crystals in a heterogeneous form containing annealing twins; Au and Hg are detected in the gilt layer. We suggest that the surface of the forging copperplate is gilded using a mercury amalgam technique; it is thought that the annealing twins of the base material formed during the heat treatment process for the sheet metal. The gilt layer is three to five times thicker for the gilt-bronze objects found near the foot of the coffin than those near the head. We estimate the plating process is carried out at least three times because three layers are identified on the plate near the head. Therefore, it is likely that the materials and methods used to construct the giltbronze objects found in different parts of the coffin are the same, but the number of platings is different. This research confirms the metal crafting techniques used in Baekje by the examination of production techniques of these gilt-bronze objects. Further, our paper presents an important example of restoration and reconstruction for a museum exhibition, through effective use of scientific analysis and investigation.