arrow_back_ios_new Jikji Trip

“Baegunhwasangchorok buljojikjisimcheyojeol (白雲和尙抄錄佛祖直指心體要節),” the oldest known book to be printed using movable metal type, was printed in 1377 at Heungdeoksa Temple in Cheongju (淸州 興德寺址).

This temple was built during the unified Shilla period and survived through the Goryeo Dynasty. When it was excavated in 1985, only the main building’s foundation stones remained. In 1991, it was restored to a size of 80.05m2. On May 7, 1986, it was designated by the South Korean government as Historical Site Number 315.

Heungdeoksa had only been referred to in historical documents as “Cheongjumogoe (淸州牧外) Heungdeoksa” and its location was unknown. When the Korea Land Developing Corporation constructed a housing site in Uncheon-dong in 1984, a nameless temple site was discovered.

A survey revealed the remains of the temple’s main building, the western corridor, the main hall, and annex buildings. The survey also discovered a piece of a gong engraved with “Seowonbu Heungdeoksa (西原府興德寺)” and the lid of bronze bowl (靑銅佛鉢) engraved with “The Tenth Anniversary of Hwangtong (皇統十年) . . . Heungdeoksa (興德寺),” confirming that this site was Heungdeoksa.

A roof tile engraved with “Engraved in Year Three of Deajung (大中 3年銘)” was found, indicating that the temple was already being built by 849 (the 11th year of King Munseong’s reign). Earthen artifacts, including roof tiles, jeon (塡), chimipyeon (鴟尾片), bangchucha (鴟尾片), and plain-patterned pottery (無文土器片), and bronze artifacts, including a Buddhist gong, a small bell (小鐘), vajra (金剛杵), an incense burner (香爐), and a bowl (水盤), were excavated at the site.

Based on these artifacts, it can be deduced that the temple was built in the 9th century A.D. at the latest and was abandoned in the 15th century (Wikipedia).