• Koguryo and Balhae
  • Susahn-ri Tomb
Northern Wall of the Main Chamber
TitleNorthern Wall of the Main Chamber
Northern Wall of the Main Chamber

This is a detailed view of the nobleman's residential life depicted on the northern wall of the main chamber in Susahn-ri Tomb. Unfortunately, the damaged central portion of the whitewashed wall was repaired with cement, leaving no traces of the mural that had once been on the northern wall. Currently discernible sections of the mural include portions of the house, furniture that was used by the noble couple, a Jumi (fan made with horsehair or cloth, symbolizing high status in ancient China), lotuses, valets, and maids.
The primary motif for the portraits of the deceased on the northern wall is the noble couple's residential life surrounded by servants. In other similar portraits of the deceased, the husband is depicted to the left (from his perspective) of the wife. Although they are no longer visually observable, the noble couple is surmised to have been depicted in this tradition. The best evidence for this estimation is the fact that the male valets, who would have tended to the nobleman, are depicted on the left side of the mural while maids, who would have tended to the lady, are depicted on the right side of the mural. In addition, the Jumi on the left side of the mural was a decorative fan made with horsehair or cloth, symbolizing high status in men. It was either held by or placed next to noblemen, indicating that the figure next to the Jumi would have had to have been male.
Servants can be seen both inside and outside the house in which the noble couple were depicted. Four servants standing respectfully by the house appear to be waiting on orders from the noble couple indicating that perhaps these servants were the closest confidants of the nobles. Other servants can be seen standing and holding bowls of food ready to be served to the couple. The servants standing outside of the house are divided into two sections by horizontal checkered lines, flanking the entire structure. All servants can be seen wearing long Jeogoris (traditional Korean upper garment). The valets are wearing a type of form-fitting trousers known as Gung-go, and the maids are wearing long, creased skirts. In addition, the valets are wearing Geons (a type of ancient headwear that wraps around the entire head and tied in the back, similar to a bandanna) around their heads while the maids are wearing hair tied up in buns indicating that they are married.
Depictions of lotus buds and cloud patterns dispersed throughout the mural accentuate the sense of being in the Buddhist Land of Bliss.