• Koguryo and Balhae
  • Great Tomb of Gangseo
The Third Stone Prop of the Northeastern Wall (Side)
TitleThe Third Stone Prop of the Northeastern Wall (Side)
The Third Stone Prop of the Northeastern Wall (Side)
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This is the mural painted on the side of the third stone prop of the northeastern wall. The third stone prop is a triangular stone slab utilized to fill the void in the ceiling.
A lotus & palmette (decorative element resembling honeysuckle leaves) is painted between two colorfully-decorated Fenghuangs facing each other. However, the central lotus & palmette has deteriorated, and only traces still remain making the details difficult to distinguish. It most likely resembles other lotus & palmettes painted on stone props of the same tier.
The most prominent part of the mural painted on the stone prop of the northeastern wall is the Fenghuang. It's the most extravagant of all Fenghuangs depicted on the third tier, and it also retains the highest quality of preservation. Its vivid colors and lines almost seem to capture the moment in which the Fenghuang was first painted. Similar to the Fenghuang depicted on the stone prop of the southeastern wall, this Fenghuang does not feature a 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 tail.
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.