• Koguryo and Balhae
  • Anak Tomb No. 3
Western Wall of the Western Auxiliary Chamber - Portrait of the Deceased (Male)
TitleWestern Wall of the Western Auxiliary Chamber - Portrait of the Deceased (Male)
Western Wall of the Western Auxiliary Chamber - Portrait of the Deceased (Male)
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This is the portrait of the deceased depicted on the western auxiliary chamber in Anak Tomb No. 3. Although referred to as a portrait of the deceased, its composition is quite different from the modern-day portrait of the deceased used in Korea. The central figure can be seen sitting on a wooden platform while officials report political affairs and catalogue the proceedings. This type of imagery is a reflection of the most prestigious period in the life of the deceased and is closely related to the ancient people's view of the afterlife at the time. This can be interpreted as the ancient people's strong belief that the spiritual world was a continuation of the real world. Hence, the tomb was decorated with scenes related to the real-world in hopes that the status and extravagant wealth of the deceased would continue into the afterlife.
A three-tier Jeol (ceremonial flag featuring pompons) can be seen to the right of the pavilion. The figures flanking the nobleman are wearing civil servant Chaeks (Headwear worn by civil servants and military attachés. Civil servants wore Chaeks with tops that were split in the back and curving forward. Military attachés wore Chaeks with cone-shaped points.) and holding brushes or wooden tablets (thin wood shavings used extensively for writing prior to the invention of paper) while tending to government affairs. The identities of these figures are indicated by various inscriptions including Sosa (attendant), Gisil (clerk), Munhabae (concierge), and Seongsa (secretary).