The Bank of Korea have announced (11th October) the release of a new commemorative coin which features a UNESCO site within Korea and also highlights Korean culture abroad. The coin, which will be released on the 30th November is the third coin to highlight UNESCO sites in Korea and this year’s subject features the Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple.
The temple is located in Gyeongju, a coastal city in the far southeastern corner of North Gyeongsang province in South Korea. Seokguram was designated as the 24th national treasure of Korea in 1962 and was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List together with the Bulguksa Temple in 1995. It exemplifies some of the best Buddhist sculptures in the world. The temple’s construction began in 742 during the reign of King Gyeongdeok, the 35th ruler (742 – 765) of the kingdom of Silla – encompassing much of present day South Korea and was mostly completed in 774. The cherished temple had undergone long periods of abandonment and reconstruction most notably in 1703 and 1758, during the Joseon dynasty. Substantial damage was done to the monument during the early part of the 20th century with improper techniques for cleaning and water damage prevention, but during the administration of President Park Chung Hee, a major restoration project was undertaken using modern and scientifically sound methods. Today, the site attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors both domestic and international.
The Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple 50000 Won Silver Coin features a depiction of the Seokguram Grotto’s main Buddha statue, which is situated in the Main Hall and Vajrapani sculptures. The Buddha is seated on a lotus throne with legs crossed and displays a serene expression of meditation. The reverse shows a panoramic view of Bulguksa Temple centered on Cheongun and Baegun bridges (the Bridge of Blue Clouds / Bridge of White Clouds). The roman-lettered text “UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE” and “Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple” which is placed to the right upper half of the coin in five rows. Towards the lower left edge, the text “2012 BANK OF KOREA 50000 WON” can be seen.
Struck to proof quality by the Korea Minting and Security Printing Corporation (KOMSCO) the .999 pure silver coin has a weight of 19 grams and a diameter of 33 mm. A total mintage of 30,000 examples has been authorised. For readers in South Korea, the Woori Bank and Nonghyup Bank will be accepting pre-orders from the 8th to the 18th October. Over the counter sales will commence from the 7th December.
For more information about the Korea Minting and Security Printing Corporation, please visit their website at: http://english.komsco.com/products/coins.asp The information is offered in English.