• Koguryo and Balhae
  • Tokhung-ri Tomb
Hunting Scene on the Ceiling
TitleHunting Scene on the Ceiling
Hunting scene on the ceiling of the antechamber (southern wall)
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This hunting scene is depicted on the ceiling of the antechamber (southern wall) in Tokhung-ri Tomb.
The hunting scene, featuring horseback riding and archery, is a theme that well-represents the Koguryo people's customs and martialistic mentality. Historical records indicate that during the Koguryo era, each town constructed a hall to teach literacy and archery to youths. In particular, these youths diligently learned horseback riding and archery from an early age. The Koguryo state was founded by King Dongmyeong, and his birth name Jumong means "One who is proficient in archery." This fact alone is indicative of the significance of archery and horseback riding to the people of Koguryo.
The hunting scene spans the eastern and southern walls and is centered in the corner of said walls. Eight mounted soldiers are depicted. The depiction on the eastern wall is much larger in scale. The mural in the image portrays a dynamic tiger hunt with mounted archers.
Koguryo soldiers perfected their horseback riding and archery through such hunting activities. In light of the international affairs of the time rife with wars with neighboring countries, hunting allowed Koguryo soldiers to routinely hone their combat skills and achieve high levels of physical fitness.