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

This is the mural painted on the bottom 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.
Lotus & palmettes are depicted in the corner where the legs of the triangle form a right angle. The edges of the three-layered lotus are decorated with palmette leaves. The delicate and elegant coloring techniques are reminiscent of Paintings of Flowers and Birds rendered in ink wash. This pattern began in the Southern Dynasty of China and was eventually introduced to Koguryo under the influence of Buddhism in the Western Regions (generally refers to areas to the west of China).
Two Fenghuangs are depicted facing each other above the lotus-pattern palmette. The Fenghuang is an ethereal bird symbolizing nobility and good fortune and resembles the appearance of the Vermilion Bird. The Fenghuang in the image resembles the Vermilion Bird in the Great Tomb of Gangseo, and the red color on the body is especially prominent. A lotus branch palmette can be seen in the Fenghuang's mouth. The composition of the flower and bird is exquisite, and the appropriate usage of the triangular space is very innovative.