• Koguryo and Balhae
  • Great Tomb of Gangseo
The Second Stone Prop of the Eastern Wall (Bottom)
TitleThe Second Stone Prop of the Eastern Wall (Bottom)
The Second Stone Prop of the Eastern Wall (Bottom)

This is the lotus & palmette (decorative element resembling honeysuckle leaves) depicted on the bottom of the second stone prop of the eastern wall. The four corners of the first tier of stone props utilized triangular supporting stones to achieve an octagonal shape. The second tier was installed parallel to the walls, thus creating a trapezoid shape on the bottom of the second stone prop.
The lotus & palmettes are the result of artistic influence from Buddhist grottoes of China's Southern and Northern Dynasties. They appear in Four Spirits murals of the late Koguryo era. A total of three sexfoil (ornamental design having six petals radiating from a common center) lotus & palmettes with leaves to the left and right can be seen in frontal views. The lotus flowers are colorfully depicted in white, red, brown, and black. Coloring techniques utilized East Asian rendering methods (light, gradual applications of color to increase contrast) to emphasize contrast for a smooth, three-dimensional appearance.
In Buddhism, lotus is a flower that symbolizes enlightenment and rebirth. However, Daoist mural tombs featuring the Paintings of the Four Spirits from the late Koguryo era emphasized the flower's decorative elements rather than its religious context.