A new study shows that a statue in a small temple in Japan's ancient capital of Kyoto may have been made on the Korean Peninsula much earlier than thought.
The 50-centimeter-tall bronze statue of pensive bodhisattva is located at Myodenji Temple. Until now, it was believed to have been made between the 17th and the late 19th century, when the temple was built.
But researchers in Osaka University and other archaeologists found that patterns and designs on the statue were similar to those found on sculptures and other artifacts made on the Korean Peninsula between the 6th and 7th centuries.
The researchers also found that the statue is composed of almost 90 percent bronze and 10 percent tin. It contains a small amount of lead.
They say the composition indicates that the statue was created on the Korean Peninsula around the 7th century, soon after Buddhism arrived in Japan.
The researchers say it remains unclear how the statue was brought to the temple in Kyoto.
Osaka University Professor Yutaka Fujioka says the finding is very significant and that the statue deserves to be regarded as a national treasure in South Korea.