• Koguryo and Balhae
  • Tokhung-ri Tomb
Fangxiangshi
TitleFangxiangshi
Fangxiangshi on the western wall of the entrance
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This is a detailed view of the Fangxiangshi on the western wall of the entrance passage in Tokhung-ri Tomb. The figure is holding two intersecting lances in the shape of an X. Its face resembles a demon mask and the body features feathers. The Fangxiangshi's large eyes, fluttering eyebrows, and gaping mouth exude a fierce aura that would surprise and ward off any demons.
The Fangxiangshi mask of ancient Chinese mythology embodies the ability to ward off evil demons or ghosts. Hence, the Fangxiangshi was often depicted in tomb murals and also appeared as a common figure in funerals of ancient Korea. In particular, Fangxiangshi masks were created to exorcize demons in Joseon era funerals, and this is indicative of its strong ties to funeral culture. This mural can be considered invaluable historical evidence of Korean funeral heritage.