Another Old Mural Tomb Unearthed in DPRK

A research group of the Korea National Heritage Preservation Agency has recently unearthed a new mural tomb dating back to Koguryo Kingdom (277 B.C.-A.D. 668) in the Undok area of Ryonggang County, Nampho City.

The tomb is situated on a hillside north of the area. The Ryonggang Large Tomb and the Twin-pillared Tomb, inscribed on the World Heritage list, are 1.5 kilometres away to the west.

As an earthen tomb with a stone chamber, it consists of a burial chamber and passage.

At the entrance to the passage, there is a two-leaved stone gate made of plain granite with ring-shaped metal knobs. One part of the gate is 125 cm in height, 60 cm in width and 9 cm in thickness, and each knob is 10 cm in diameter.

The passage leans to the east slightly from the centre of the south wall in the plane square chamber, and a low rectangular bier lying to the west is on the floor of the chamber. The south and west walls remain preserved comparatively well, with the length of 3.17 metres and the height of 1.5 metres for each side.

The main theme of murals in the tomb is a picture of four guardians. Depicted on the west wall is a white tiger with its head and its eyes highlighted with red pigment, its lying long body and its tail crooked while leaping.

Also unearthed there were pieces of murals depicting heads and forelegs of such animals as tiger and dog and the haunch of a horse and with vine patterns on the lower part of the ceiling, and one nail used for bier.

The Archaeology Society of the DPRK verified that it is a Koguryo mural tomb with the theme of a picture of four guardians, discovered for the first time in the Ryonggang area, and that it was built circa the sixth century. The society also estimated that the tomb is of great academic significance in studying the history and culture of Koguryo and its burial custom in particular, as it has a stone gate with metal knobs preserved in their original state.

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