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Buddhist relics back to Song Dynasty found in Shandong

CCTV, Oct 11, 2008

Yanzhou, China -- Local archeologists found a number of Buddhist relics beneath a Buddhist pagoda in Yanzhou, Shandong Province at the end of September. Experts said the findings are very important for research work on Chinese Buddhism, calligraphy and painting.

<< The photo taken on October 8, 2008 shows a 13 cm-high pure gold bottle excavated by local archeologists beneath a Buddhist pagoda in Yanzhou, east China's Shandong Province. Archeologists found a number of Buddhist relics including gilt silver coffin, golden bottles and other religious objects along with a stele recording the history of the pagoda and the holy relics that can be traced back to Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD). [Photo: Xinhua]

Buddhist relics found in Shandong Province's Xinglong Pagoda date back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD). Local authorities held a special press conference on this surprising discovery on Wednesday, October 8.

Among the relics are a stone coffin, gilt silver coffin, golden bottles, a glazed vase and other religious objects, along with a stele recording the history of the pagoda and the holy relics that can be traced back to Song Dynasty.

After appraisal, the stone coffin, gilt silver coffin and golden bottles used to collect the remains of late Buddhist masters after their cremation, were credited as cultural relics under top-level state protection. The stele and glazed vase are under third-level protection.

Experts say the Xinglong Pagoda is one of the most typical Buddhist relic pagodas.

The excavation lasted from September 1 through 14 this year. The local archaeological department started the project in the wake of a cracked robbery case. A gang dug out a tunnel 6 meters deep and 24 meters long leading to the pagoda and stole some of the cultural relics in the begining of this year.

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