• Koguryo and Balhae
  • Great Tomb of Gangseo
The Third Stone Prop of the Southeastern Wall (Side)
TitleThe Third Stone Prop of the Southeastern Wall (Side)
The Third Stone Prop of the Southeastern Wall (Side)

This is the mural painted on the side of the third stone prop of the southeastern wall. The third stone prop is a triangular stone slab utilized to fill the void in the ceiling.
Although the deterioration of the mural in the image is more severe compared to other murals, it still contains the same elements and techniques as other southwestern wall stone props from the same tier. A lotus & palmette is painted between two Fenghuangs facing each other. Looking at the lotus & palmette, two palmette leaves growing outward can be seen to the sides of the lotus blooming flower in the center. Although the exact colors and lines are difficult to distinguish due to the degradation, the blend of flowing curves and beautiful colors can still be felt.
The two Fenghuangs do not feature any decorative elements unlike other Fenghuangs of the same tier on the stone props of the southwestern wall that depict flame-shaped Cheokmok (an instrument resembling a Boshan (mythical mountain) or Baozhu (lotus bud-shaped bead) required for a dragon’s ascension according to Chinese mythology) on the tail. The degradation is more advanced on the left side, but judging from the remaining depictions, similarities to the Vermilion Bird on the stone prop of the southwestern wall are apparent.
This type of mural iconography with lotus & palmettes and flanking auspicious animals was prevalent in the Southern Dynasty of China and is indicative of the close cultural-exchange relationship between Koguryo and China.