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Photos: Ancient Stupa Holding Bone of Buddha Discovered

Model of Stupa - 1

This model of a stupa, which is used for meditation, was discovered beneath Grand Bao'en Temple in Nanjing, China. The 1,000-year-old stupa is made of sandalwood, silver and gold.

(Image credit: Photo courtesy of Chinese Cultural Relics)

Archaeologists excavating a crypt beneath Grand Bao'en Temple in Nanjing, China, have discovered a model of a stupa — a place used for meditation. Made of sandalwood, silver and gold the model dates back 1,000 years and stands 117 centimeters (almost 4 feet) tall. It is decorated with numerous gemstones and has images of the Buddha, showing scenes from his life. A parietal (skull) bone from the Buddha, the founder of the Buddhist religion, was found within the stupa.

Model of Stupa - 2

The model stupa also has numerous inscriptions engraved on it.

(Image credit: Photo courtesy of Chinese Cultural Relics)

The model stupa also has numerous inscriptions engraved on it. The inscriptions include a list of people who donated money and material for the model’s construction.

Model of Stupa - 3

The model stupa also had numerous inscriptions on it.

(Image credit: Photo courtesy of Chinese Cultural Relics)

Here, another inscription on the stupa model. The inscriptions also name some of the people who helped build the model.

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This silver casket was found inside of the model stupa.

(Image credit: Photo courtesy of Chinese Cultural Relics)

This silver casket was found inside of the model stupa. It's 20 centimeters (almost 8 inches) high and 18.4 cm (7.2 inches) long.

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The silver casket found inside the stupa is decorated with images of gods guarding it with swords.

(Image credit: Photo courtesy of Chinese Cultural Relics)

The silver casket found inside the stupa is decorated with images of gods guarding it with swords. There are also images of spirits called asparas, who are shown playing musical instruments.

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A skull bone of the Buddha was found inside this gold casket.

(Image credit: Photo courtesy of Chinese Cultural Relics)

This gold casket was found within the silver casket. It's 7.8 centimeters (3.1 inches) high and 12.4 cm (4.9 in.) long. The parietal bone of the Buddha, along with remains from other Buddhist saints, was found inside. After excavation, Buddhist monks interred the remains in Qixia Temple in China.

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The model stupa was found within an iron box, which, in turn, was found in this stone chest.

(Image credit: Photo courtesy of Chinese Cultural Relics)

The model stupa was found within an iron box, which, in turn, was found in this stone chest. The stone chest has a lengthy inscription written by an abbot named Deming, who explained that more than 2,200 years ago, a king from India, named Ashoka, sent China the Buddha's parietal bone along with 18 other physical remains from the Buddha.

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The crypt where the model was buried was found here in the remains of a pagoda at Grand Bao'en Temple in Nanjing, China.

(Image credit: Photo courtesy of Chinese Cultural Relics)

The crypt where the model was buried was found here in the remains of a pagoda at Grand Bao'en Temple in Nanjing, China. A paper reporting the discovery was published in the journal Chinese Cultural Relics.