• Koguryo and Balhae
  • Susahn-ri Tomb
Western Wall of the Main Chamber - Secondary Joist
TitleWestern Wall of the Main Chamber - Secondary Joist
Western Wall of the Main Chamber - Secondary Joist

This is a detailed view of the secondary joist depicted on the western wall of the main chamber in Susahn-ri Tomb. The joist is an architectural element used in the construction of wooden buildings, and tombs often depicted joists to convey the sense of being in an actual house.
Oddly-shaped cloud patterns resembling plant vines can be seen on the secondary joist. Cloud patterns symbolize auspiciousness or the heavenly world and thus, these patterns on the timber framework indicate that the chamber space belongs in the afterlife of the entombed despite resembling real-world wooden structures. The oddly-shaped cloud patterns on the secondary joist were first sketched in black ink over a red-brown wooden background, then filled in with black.
Generally, only ancient wooden structures such as Buddhist temples or the royal palace featured vibrant multi-colored decorations (Dancheong) seen on traditional Korean wooden buildings. These patterns on the columns and joists of Koguryo mural tombs are considered by some to be the inception of such decorations in Korea.