• Koguryo and Balhae
  • Tokhung-ri Tomb
Eastern Wall of the Middle Passage
TitleEastern Wall of the Middle Passage
Eastern Wall of the Middle Passage
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Eastern Wall of the Middle Passage(Illustration)
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This mural is painted on the eastern wall of the middle passage that connects the antechamber to the main chamber. A red, rectangular border frames the image that was divided into two smaller frames. The top portion portrays the First Lady riding in an ox carriage, and the bottom features a military attaché performing final preparations on a horse prior to traveling.
Two valets are driving a green ox and carriage at the front of the procession. Two finely-dressed maids in multi-colored creased skirts are closely following the carriage. Behind the maids, a valet holding a large black sunshade (used by nobles in ancient times for sun protection, similar to a modern-day parasol) seems to be struggling to keep pace with the carriage. Finally, two equestrian military attachés are safely escorting the First Lady at the back of the procession.
The scene below does not appear to depict anyone on horseback. The owner of the horse appears to be the military attaché performing final checks at the front. The figure's official hat indicates his military attaché status. The horse in the image has the front left leg raised as if to warm up in preparation for the impending outing. A valet can be seen holding a large black sunshade next to the horse.
The Depiction of the Noble Couple’s Outing was a very popular motif from early Koguryo era tomb murals and generally interpreted to be a representation of actual outings undertaken by the nobles during their lifetime. Alternately, these depictions also symbolize a journey to the afterlife escorted by valets and maids. In this instance, the horse and ox carriages are important modes of transport for comfortably and safely reaching the afterlife. The portrait of the deceased painted on the northern wall of the main chamber is flanked by an ox carriage and a horse, symbolizing preparations for the deceased couple's impending outing. The traveling processions face out of the main chamber (house) toward the antechamber (outbuilding), indicating that they have just embarked on an outing rather than returning.