• Koguryo and Balhae
  • Great Tomb of Gangseo
The Third Stone Prop of the Southwestern Wall (Side - Detailed view)
TitleThe Third Stone Prop of the Southwestern Wall (Side - Detailed view)
The Third Stone Prop of the Southwestern Wall (Side - Detailed view)
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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 & palmette is painted between two Fenghuangs facing each other. Looking at the lotus & palmette, two palmette leaves growing outward can be seen to the sides of the lotus blooming flower in the center. This floral pattern, depicted in brown, red, white, and black, features a harmonious blend of flowing curves and beautiful colors .
The two Fenghuangs that flank the lotus are similar to those depicted on the ceiling stone prop and feature flame-shaped Cheokmok (an instrument resembling a Boshan (mythical mountain) or Baozhu (lotus bud-shaped bead) required for a dragon's ascension according to Chinese mythology) on the tails. As a Cheokmok is an instrument required to facilitate a dragon's ascension into the heavens, perhaps it can be interpreted as emphasis for the Fenghuang's ability to fly. The floral patterns distributed throughout add to the 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.