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

This is a detailed view of the simple lambda-shaped (Λ) truss depicted on the eastern wall of the main chamber in Susahn-ri Tomb. These trusses were key elements in Koguryo-era timber framing used to support beams and joists, and the simple truss in the image can be seen supporting the secondary joist above the primary joist.
Oddly-shaped cloud patterns, similar to those seen on the secondary joist, are depicted on the truss surface 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 truss were first sketched in black ink over a red-brown wooden background, then filled in with black to complete the image.
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.