• Koguryo and Balhae
  • Tokhung-ri Tomb
Horse Stable Scene
TitleHorse Stable Scene
Barn in the stable scene on the southern wall of the main chamber

This is a detailed view of Youzhou Provincial Governor Jin’s horse stable on the southern wall of the main chamber in Tokhung-ri Tomb. The three horses seen in the image can be seen standing side by side and feeding rather nonchalantly. The robust, healthy-looking horses seem to be a direct reflection of the family’s affluence. A young valet behind the horses is sorting horse feed, and another is standing in observation. The horses and manger are staggered diagonally in an excellent utilization of perspective. The faint remains of a lotus in front of the manger implies that this scene is of the spiritual world.
Horses played key roles in battles and as methods of transportation in ancient times. Horses were essential to the people of Koguryo who were descendants of the equestrian people in the north. One can imagine just how much horses were cherished, as people who caused the deaths of horses due to mistreatment were degraded to the lowest social ranks or severely punished.