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Past Exhibitions

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  • Great Wisdom
  • Korean Abstraction
  • Wood Furniture
  • Folk Paintings
  • Buddhist Art
  • Ceramics

Metallurgy: Great Wisdom

  • Crown and Ornaments
  • Dragon-Headed Banner Staff
  • Incense Burner
  • Roof Ornament in the Shape of a Dragon Head
  • My/Our Country
Dragon-Headed Banner Staff

Dragon-Headed Banner Staff


This model is an accurate reproduction in miniature of the banner staffs which, from the time of the Three Kingdoms, stood outside the main entrances of Korean Buddhist temples. Flags were hoisted primarily as symbols of the benevolence and dignity of the Buddha but served the additional purpose of suppressing evil spirits or announcing major rituals. The flagstaff usually consists of a stone base with two supports made either of stone or metal which support the pole between. This particular model was cast in two parts : the first, consisting of the base with supports and the two lowermost sections of the flagstaff, and the second, consisting of the remaining six sections of the flagstaff and the head. The staff is in the shape of a bamboo pole with a dragon-shaped head ornamenting the top. Sometimes the staffs were crowned with a pearl of good luck. The two-tiered rectangular base is incised with lotus petals and the uppermost section of the pole with dragon’s scales. The entire surface was coated with lacquer and then gilded, but only traces of the gilding remain.

Goryeo Dynasty, 10th-11th century
Gilt bronze
H 104.3cm
National Treasure No. 136