Cremated human remains were found in Gongchi Village, Jingchuan Country, China. They were inside a ceramic box bearing an inscription that says they are of Siddhārtha Gautama, the Buddha. The box was found along with more than 260 Buddhist statues.
The discovery was made by villagers who were repairing roads in Gongchi and were excavated in 2013, and details on the finds have been published this year. The inscription on the box was translated in 2013 and said: The monks Yunjiang and Zhiming of the Lotus School, who belonged to the Mañjuśrī Temple of the Longxing Monastery in Jingzhou Prefecture, gathered more than 2000 pieces of cremated remains of the Buddha, as well as the Buddha’s teeth and bones, and buried them in the Mañjuśrī Hall of this temple. The monks Yunjiang and Zhiming are also said to have been gathering the remains for 20 years. Researchers excavating the site have also discovered architectural remains that could have been the mentioned Hall. The inscription doesn’t mention the statues, so it is unclear to the archaeologists led by Hong Wu, of the Gansu Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, whether they were buried at the same time. Previous archaeological discoveries in China have also revealed human remains with inscriptions that claim that they belong to the Buddha. The statues measure up to 2 metres and are believed to have been created between the time of the northern Wei dynasty (386 to 534 AD) and the Song dynasty (960 to 1279 AD). The statues include depictions of the Buddha, bodhisattvas (those who seek enlightenment), arhats (those who have found enlightenment) and deities, known as heavenly kings. Some only depict the head of the individual, others are life-size, some even showing individuals standing on platforms and a few of them are steles.
(after Chinese Cultural Relics & Live Science)