• Koguryo and Balhae
  • Susahn-ri Tomb
Eastern Wall of the Main Chamber
TitleEastern Wall of the Main Chamber
Eastern Wall of the Main Chamber

This is a detailed view of the band depicted on the eastern wall of the main chamber in Susahn-ri Tomb. Depictions of Koguryo processions usually include a ceremonial band. A ceremonial band is typically comprised of percussion and wind instruments such as drums and horn flutes, respectively. Large string instruments such as the Gomungo (zither) weren't included as they were too cumbersome to be played while marching. These bands generally accompanied outings for nobles to provide entertainment and generate publicity. Although the traditions of such ceremonial bands may vary depending on the times, the core principal has continued in processions throughout history for Joseon era kings, high-ranking government officials, and even modern-day athletes or members of the military.
The ceremonial band in the image is comprised of a carrying-drum and horn bugle. A carrying-drum is a type of percussion instrument that is held by multiple people while being played by another. The image depicts two people carrying the drum and frame on their shoulders while the drummer beats on the drum with a percussion mallet. A horn bugler can be seen closely following the drummers. The small size of the band suggests that the scale of the procession was likely to be small.
This ceremonial band depiction is full of meticulous details, and the lively movements of the musicians, especially the drummers' cheerful demeanors and the tension in the bugler playing, convey a great sense of dynamism.