• Koguryo and Balhae
  • Susahn-ri Tomb
Northern Wall of the Main Chamber - Yeoksa
TitleNorthern Wall of the Main Chamber - Yeoksa
Northern Wall of the Main Chamber - Yeoksa
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This is a detailed view of the Yeoksa (literally “strong man”) depicted near the ceiling on the northern wall of the main chamber in Susahn-ri Tomb. In general, Yeoksas were depicted in Koguryo-era tomb murals as men of great strength holding up joists with their arms in place of columns. They were sometimes depicted to be holding up supporting stones near or on the ceiling. Most Yeoksas appeared to be someone from the Western Regions (Generally refers areas to the west of China), and they were distinctly characterized by their half-naked bodies and short pants.
The gatekeeper on the western wall of the main chamber is a warrior with big, bright eyes who appears to be of someone from the Western Regions (Generally refers areas to the west of China). He is distinctly characterized by his half-naked body and short pants. In general, Yeoksas were depicted in Koguryo-era tomb murals as men of great strength holding up joists with their arms in place of columns. However, this Yeoksa is holding up the lambda-shaped (Λ) truss installed between the large primary joist and medium-sized secondary joist. This type of imagery was first discovered in Susahn-ri Tomb in a creative and innovative approach to Yeoksa motifs.
The depiction of a Yeoksa in this manner is surmised to have been an influence of the Titan Atlas from Greek mythology that passed through the Western Regions to eventually reach Koguryo. In addition, the burly figures from the Western Regions (Generally refers areas to the west of China) likely appeared to be men of great strength to the people of Koguryo and are thus interpreted to have been preferred for such depictions. This image is a valuable resource for understanding the cultural exchanges between the East and West at the time.