A staff reporter Ham Kwang Hyok had a talk with Cha Tal Man, member of the Archaeology Society of the DPRK, about the mural tombs and relics in the period of Koguryo (277 B.C.-A.D.668) newly unearthed in Wolji-ri, Anak County, South Hwanghae Province.
Ham: Please tell me about the newly unearthed mural tombs and relics.
Cha: As you know, an excavating party of the Archaeology Institute under the Academy of Social Sciences unearthed valuable mural tombs and relics dating back to Koguryo in Wolji-ri, Anak County, South Hwanghae Province between May and June.
It unearthed five tombs among Koguryo tombs distributed in the area in groups. In the course of this, they discovered Koguryo mural tombs in the Ryuchon and Hyonchon areas and gold artifacts in the Hyonchon and Jichon areas.
The tomb in the Ryuchon area is an earth mound, which consists of an inner passage, a stone chamber of flat square and a ceiling boarded with paralleled triangular props.
The themes of the tomb are four guardians. A tortoise is seen on the wall in the north, a blue dragon in the east, a white tiger in the west and two phoenixes in the south.
Discovered on the ceiling were some parts of pictures of a new constellation which could not be seen in other Koguryo mural tombs unearthed up to now, and patterns of lotus flower and leaves, cloud, pipal tree and tortoise shells.
The tomb in the Hyonchon area, too, is an earth mound which consists of an inner passage and a stone chamber. Unearthed here were a picture of depicting the sun and many other pieces of murals.
An elaborately-processed earring, four-petal-shaped ornaments and other 7 pieces made of gold were also found in the tombs.
The Archaeology Society of the DPRK verified that the tomb in the Ryuchon area is a mural tomb with the theme of four guardians, the first of its kind in the Hwanghae Province area, and that it was built in the first half of the 6th century.
It also evaluated that it is a great achievements in the archaeology sector that a new Koguryo mural tomb with clear traces of walls, ceiling structure and murals, as well as gold artifacts which showcase the cultural superiority of Koguryo, were unearthed since Tokhungri mural tomb in Kangso District in Nampho City was excavated 40 years ago.
Ham: I think the current discovery is of great significance in studying the history and cultural development of Koguryo.
Cha: The historical sites and relics are the precious heritage which shows our ancestors’ wisdom, talents and splendid culture and the asset of the nation to be handed down through generations.
The recent discovery is of great significance in providing the materials for intensifying the studies of history and cultural development of Koguryo which existed for nearly 1 000 years.
First, it will greatly help the study of history of Koguryo.
Up to now, our historians have considered the Anak area, where the Mausoleum of King Kogugwon built in the mid-4th century and many other Koguryo mural tombs were unearthed, to be the supply and logistic base for Koguryo to advance into the south between the 4th and 5th centuries.
Thanks to the recent discovery of historical sites and relics in the 6th century, we can see that many high-ranking bureaucrats of Koguryo lived in this area and, therefore, the area was one of important administrative centres until the closing years of Koguryo.
And we confirmed the developed culture of Koguryo.
The unearthed relics will serve as important materials in shedding fresh light on the study of the developed level of astronomy and metalwork of Koreans in those days and their view on religious beliefs.