• Koguryo and Balhae
  • Great Tomb of Gangseo
The Third Stone Prop of the Northwestern Wall (Side)
TitleThe Third Stone Prop of the Northwestern Wall (Side)
The Third Stone Prop of the Northwestern Wall (Side)
zoom

This mural was painted on the side of the third stone prop of the southwestern wall in the Great Tomb of Gangseo. The third stone prop is a triangular stone slab utilized to fill the void in the ceiling.
A lotus & palmetteis featured between two Qilins (a.k.a. Kirin: chimerical creature of Chinese mythology) facing each other.
Looking at the lotus & palmette, a central Baozhu (lotus bud-shaped bead) and a full-bloom lotus can be seen in elevation view. This floral pattern, depicted in brown, red, white, and black, features a harmonious blend of flowing curves and beautiful colors .
The two Qilins flank the palmette in running poses. The Qilin is a fictional animal that appears in ancient Chinese mythology referred to as the lord of all creatures abundant in virtue and principle. It is also a symbol of good fortune and longevity, and is sometimes referred to as the guardian of spiritual world. Notably, the Qilin is considered the judge of all creation and is also known as the Benevolent Beast, respectful of life and unwilling to step even on a blade of grass or kill the smallest of insects. The floral patterns scattered throughout provide an auspicious atmosphere.
This type of mural iconography with lotus & palmettes and flanking auspicious animals was prevalent in the Southern Dynasty of China and is indicative of the close cultural-exchange relationship between Koguryo and China.