• Koguryo and Balhae
  • Anak Tomb No. 3
Ceiling of the Main Chamber - Lotus
TitleCeiling of the Main Chamber - Lotus
Ceiling of the Main Chamber - Lotus

This is a detailed view of the eight-leaved lotus depicted on the ceiling of the main chamber in Anak Tomb No. 3. The faint traces of black tips of sepals can be seen protruding between the eight red lotus leaves.
The lotus is a flower that grows beautifully from the mud of a pond and symbolizes purification and rebirth in Buddhism. Although numerous lotus depictions appear in the murals of Anak Tomb No. 3, it's difficult to conclusively determine whether they have Buddhist implications or were used simply for decorative purposes. Buddhism was officially recognized in Koguryo in the 2nd year of King Sosurim (372 CE), and Anak Tomb No. 3 was constructed 15 years prior in 357 CE. Thus, the lotus imagery in Anak Tomb No. 3 may have no relation to the Buddhist beliefs of the entombed. However, Buddhism was relatively widespread in Koguryo according to historical records of the era, and it’s possible that the lotus may also have deeper religious connotations.