Buddha Skull Discovery: Possible Head of Siddhartha Gautama Found in Chinese Temple

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Archaeologists in China may very well have discovered the remains of Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, secretly tucked away under the rubble of a destroyed temple. The 1,000-year-old artifact features an inscription written by a man named Deming that said the religious leader's parietal bone, which forms the side and roof of the cranium, was secretly encased in the chest. 

That stone chest opened to reveal a hidden iron box, and inside of that was an elaborate stupa model that stood nearly 4 feet tall. It is believed the remains of Buddhist saints are also stored inside of the same artifact. Inside of the protected display was a silver casket, which then opened into a gold casket. As archaeologists continued to work carefully through the several obstacles to avoid damaging its parts, it was revealed the treasure was meant to protect a very important historical figure. 

LiveScience reported researchers transcribed Deming's words, which paint the story of how Buddha's skull found its way into the heavily guarded casket (which also had images of guards, gods and phoenixes to protect what was inside). 

About 1,400 years before China received the artifact, Deming wrote Buddha's skull was protected underneath an Indian temple that had been demolished during an onslaught of violence throughout the region. The ruling King Ashoka divided Buddha's alleged remains into 84,000 shares. "Our land of China received 19 of them," Deming wrote. 

What's more, the discovery has been known for some time now, appearing last year in the WenWu Chinese language journal. It made headlines in 2012 when the parietal bone was featured for Buddhist devotees in Macao, before finally being published recently in the Chinese Cultural Relics journal.

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Chris Riotta

Chris Riotta is a culture reporter at Mic, covering news, music and entertainment. He is based in New York and can be reached at criotta@mic.com

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