• Koguryo and Balhae
  • Anak Tomb No. 3
Eastern Wall of the Auxiliary Chamber
TitleEastern Wall of the Auxiliary Chamber

The eastern auxiliary chamber of Anak Tomb No. 3 features a wide assortment of real-world images from the life of the entombed. Scenes of opulent Koguryo residential culture are depicted in the eastern auxiliary chamber including a kitchen, meat storehouse, carriage house, mill, well, barn, and horse stable.
The long, rectangular eastern auxiliary chamber is slightly smaller than the western auxiliary chamber. The left side of the eastern wall in the auxiliary chamber features a depiction of three women preparing food in the kitchen. In the center of the mural, a meat storehouse can be seen with wild animals that appear to have been just caught in a hunt hanging from hooks. Finally, a carriage house on the right side of the wall features two carriages that would have been used by the noble couple on outings. The people and animals that appear in this mural are all remarkably realistic. The northern wall in the eastern auxiliary chamber features a scene with a water well. Water is being drawn from the well by using the principle of leverage. A treadmill built using the principle of leverage appears on the northern section of the western wall. Three oxen feeding from a manger are depicted on the southern wall, and a similar image featuring three horses can be seen on the southern section of the western wall. All of the structures seen in these images feature Giwa roofs (traditional Korean roof tiles). According to historical records, only buildings of major significance such as government offices, temples, and the royal palace utilized Giwa in the Koguryo era. Ordinary citizens lived in homes with thatched roofs. Thus, the Giwa roofs in the murals suggest that the entombed was likely a part of the aristocratic hierarchy in Koguryo.
The exceptionally realistic portrayals of the people, animals, and buildings in each scene depicted in the eastern auxiliary chamber breathe life into the daily lives of the entombed portrayed in the murals. Decorating the tomb space with real-world motifs can be interpreted as the ancient Koguryo people's strong belief that the spiritual world was a continuation of the real world. These residential scenes are especially valuable for visually understanding the living conditions in Koguryo during the mid-4th century.