A 2,500-year-old fragment of bone believed to be one of Buddha's fingers was taken from a Chinese temple on Friday and sent to South Korea for a temporary exhibit, a news report said. A 108-member delegation from China's official Buddhist association set out carrying the bone from the Famen Temple in the city of Xi'an following a religious ceremony attended by 1,000 people, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
It said the bone was being carried in a multilayered box made of jade, crystal, sandalwood, silver and iron.
The 3 1/2-week exhibition will be the first showing of the relic in South Korea, according to the Chinese Buddhist group. It has previously been displayed in Thailand in 1994, Taiwan in 2002, and Hong Kong in 2004.
"This is an important event in the 1,600-year history of friendly relations between the two countries," the head of the Chinese delegation, monk Sheng Hui, was quoted as saying.
The bone was discovered in a hidden chamber at the Famen Temple in 1987 and was believed to have lain there undisturbed for 1,000 years, Xinhua said. It was believed to have been enshrined by China's imperial family during the Tang dynasty, which ruled from 618 to 907, reports the AP. I.L.