Archaeologists have discovered what may be a skull bone from the revered Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. The bone was hidden inside a model of a stupa, or a Buddhist shrine used for meditation.The research team found the 1,000-year-old model within a stone chest in a crypt beneath a Buddhist temple in Nanjing, China. Inside the stupa model archaeologists found the remains of Buddhist saints, including a parietal (skull) bone that inscriptions say belonged to the Buddha himself.The model is made of sandalwood, silver and gold, and is covered with gemstones made of crystal, glass, agate and lapis lazuli, a team of archaeologists reported in an article published in the journal Chinese Cultural Relics.
Inscriptions engraved on the stone chest that the model was found in say that it was constructed during the reign of Emperor Zhenzong (A.D. 997-1022), during the Song Dynasty. Also inscribed on the stupa are the names of people who donated money and material to build the model, as well as some of the people who constructed the model. While the inscriptions say that the skull bone belongs to the Buddha, it is unknown whether it really does come from him. In the journal article, archaeologists didn’t speculate on how likely it is. The bone is being treated with great respect and has been interred in the modern-day Qixia Temple by Buddhist monks.
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