The site includes archaeological remains of three cities and 40 tombs: Wunu Mountain City, Guonei City and Wandu Mountain City, 14 tombs are imperial, 26 of nobles.
All belong to the Koguryo culture, named after the dynasty that ruled over parts of northern China and the northern half of the Korean Peninsula from 37 BC to 668 AD.
Wunu Mountain City is only partly excavated.
Guonei City, within the modern city of Ji’an, played the role of a supporting capital after the main Koguryo capital moved to Pyongyang.
Wandu Mountain City, one of the capitals of the Koguryo Kingdom, contains many vestiges including a large palace and 37 tombs. Some of the tombs have elaborate ceilings, designed to roof wide spaces without columns and carry the heavy load of a stone or earth tumulus (mound) which was placed above them. (UNESCO World Heritage Centre)
Location in China: Huanren County, Liaoning Province and Ji’an, Jilin Province.
The sites in Huanren County, Liaoning include Wunu Mountain City,
The sites in Ji’an, Jilin Province include Guonei City, Wandu Mountain City and Tombs (Imperial and Nobles's Tombs) of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom.
(UNESCO Document: Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom, Page 1)
Wunu Mountain City in Huanren County, Liaoning Province
Wunu Mountain City located on top of a Wunu mountain, in Huanren County (桓仁縣), Liaoning Province (遼寧)
The city was of a considerable size, measuring 1,500 meters in length and 300 to 500 meters in width. It is only partly excavated.
The upper part of the city includes watch terrace, base of a palace, site of military camp and a city gate.
The lower part of the city was surrounded by defence wall, partly built and partly natural, using the cliff. The wall measures about 1,600 meters in length in is built of stone tablets at the outside and irregular stones on the inside. It measures 2.5 – 3.5 meters at the top and about 5 meters at the bottom.
The city has 3 gates. In its central part there is a large pool (the dossier does not explain its function).
There are foundations of a palace, 20 sites of army camp with semi-pit houses, a watch tower measuring 15 by 17 meters (only foundations) and remains of warehouses.
Wu Nu Mountain (Chinese: 五女山) means the mountain of Five Women.
Left: Wunu Mountain City (五女山山城) in Huanren County (桓仁縣), Liaoning Province (遼寧省) on the summit of Wunu Mountain (Five Women Mountain 五女山).
Right: Wunu Mountain and Wunu Mountain City
Left: Present-day pillar at the entrance to the Wunü Mountain complex with the three-legged bird finial.
Middle: Wunü Mountain entrance through the narrow Tian-Chang Gate
Right: Shrine to the five women after whom Wunü Mountain is named
Guonei City and Wandu Mountain City in Ji’an, Jilin Province
Guonei City (Gungnae-seong) is located on the right bank of the Yalu river. It is within the modern city of Ji’an (集安) and is of approximately square shape, measuring around 550 by 700 meters. It is surrounded by well built stone walls.
Wandu Mountain City (Hwando) was one of the capitals of the Koguryo. It is surrounded by stone walls, following topography lines and has seven gates.
There are two springs in the city, flowing towards the southern gate and into the Tonggou river.
Three large architectural elements are known in the city – remains of a large palace built on three step terrace with several buildings as part of it, a watch platform, site of military camp and a water pool.
Inside the city there are also 37 tombs from the period after the city was deserted.
Wandu Mountain City (丸都山城) in Ji’an, Jilin Province
Guonei City (Gungnae City 國內城) in Ji’an, Jilin Province
Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom (高句麗古墳群) in Northeast China
All of the Imperial Tombs and Nobles’ Tombs of Koguryo are located in the Donggou Ancient Tombs. Of the Imperial Tombs, 14 have been verified, and two are doubtful. There are 12 tombs of royal nobles, and 15 tombs of nobles. The Donggou Ancient Tombs, including 7000 tombs of the Koguryo time, spread over the hills and sloping fields in the Tonggou Plain. According to the landform and density of location, these tombs may be divided into seven sections: Maxian, Qixingshan, Wanbaoting, Shanchengxia, Yushan, Xiajiefang and Changchuan over an area of 25 kilometers long and 5 kilometers wide in front of the mountain.
(UNESCO Document: Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom. Last Part p2)
1) Maxian tomb area is located 4 kilometers to the west of the city. There are more than 3000 ancient tombs, including the well-known Qianqiu Tomb, Xida Tomb and Maxian Tomb No.1. The area covers about 950 hectares.
2) Qixingshan tomb area is located at the southern slope of Qixingshan, 1 kilometer to the west of the city. There are more than 1000 ancient tombs. The area covers about 330 hectares.
3) Wanbaoting tomb area is located at the foot of Qixingshan, 1 kilometer to the northwest of the city. There are more than 3000 ancient tombs. The area covers about 300 hectares.
4) Shanchengxia tomb area is located 1 kilometer to the north of the city, at the foot of Yushan Mountain, reaching Tonggou River valley below the Wandu Mountain City. There are more than 1000 ancient tombs, including the well-known Zhetianjing Tomb, Tomb of Elder Brother, Tomb of Younger Brother, Tortoise Shell Tomb and Lotus Tomb No 1. The area covers about 460 hectares.
5) Yushan tomb area is located east of the city, reaching Yushan Mountain in the north at the foot of Yushan Mountain, Tonggou River in the west, Yalu River in the south. There are more than 3000 ancient tombs, including Haotaiwang Tomb, Tomb of General, Dancing Figure Tomb, Tomb of the Wrestlers, Three-Chamber Tomb, Horse Manger Tomb, Wukui Tombs No.4 and No.5 . This is the largest tomb area in Donggou, covers about 1160 hectares.
6) Xiajiefang tomb area is located 10 kilometers to the east of the city, facing North Korea opposite the Yalu River. There are more than 50 ancient tombs, including Tomb of Ranmou, Ring Pattern Tomb and Wall Painting Tomb No.31. The area covers about 60 hectares.
7) Changchuan tomb area is located 25 kilometers to the northeast of the city, to the north of Changchuan Village. There are more than 100 ancient tombs, including the well-known Changchuan Tombs No.1 and No.2. The area covers about 160 hectares.
(UNESCO Document: Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom. Page 107)
Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom (高句麗古墳群)
Located in northeast China, the Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom dating from the 1st century BCE to the 7th century CE comprise archaeological remains of three cities and 40 tombs: Wunu Mountain City in Huanren Manchu Autonomous County, Liaoning Province; Guonei City, Wandu Mountain City, and the 40 tombs in Ji’an municipality, Jilin Province.
The Koguryo kingdom was a regional power and ethnic group from the year 37BCE until the kingdom moved its capital to Pyonyang in 427CE.Wunu Mountain City, Guonei City and Wandu Mountain City served as capitals of Koguryo during the early and middle period of the Kingdom. Wunu Mountain City was built in 37BCE as the first capital of the Koguryo regime. Surrounded by a defensive wall with three gates which was partly built in stone and in other places exploited the cliff face, the city included a palace, military camp, watch tower, houses and warehouses. Guonei City, now surrounded by the city of Ji’an, was built on the plain with a stone-built defensive wall and had separate palace and residential zones. Wandu Mountain City, the only Koguryo mountain city capital whose general layout was planned with the large palace as its core, created a mountain city that perfectly combined the Koguryo culture with the natural environment. Guonei City and Wandu Mountain City were the economic, political and cultural centers of the Koguryo for hundreds of years. Guonei City was destroyed in the year 197 CE when the Koguryo were defeated by another power. Wandu Mountain City was built in 209 CE. Both cities were damaged in wars and rebuilt several times, serving alternately as the capital. Guonei City played the role of a supporting capital after the main Koguryo capital moved to Pyongyang; it is one of the few plains city sites with stone city walls still standing.
The tombs of kings and nobles of the ancient Koguryo Kingdom are distributed in the Donggou Ancient Tombs Area of Wandu Mountain City. The 12 imperial tombs take a stepped pyramid form constructed of stone. The burial chambers within were roofed with clay tiles. The tombs of the nobles have stone chambers covered with earth mounds and are decorated with wall paintings, depicting scenes of daily life, sports, hunting, nature, gods, fairies, and dragons. The stele of King Haotaiwang dating from 414CE, tells the story of the founding of the Koguryo kingdom.
The capital cities and tombs are exceptional testimony to the vanished Koguryo civilisation. The layout and construction of the capital cities influenced the city planning and building of later cultures. The tomb paintings represent a rare artistic expression in medieval North-east Asia and together with the stele and inscriptions show the impact of Chinese culture on the Koguryo.
Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom (高句麗古墳群)
Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom on the Tonggou Plain.
Imperial Tombs – 14 in total, each represents the burial
system of Koguryo royal families. Most of the tombs are
built of stones, creating kind of stepped pyramid or a pile
of stones. They vary in size between 7x40 to 9x55 or
35x35 meters and other dimensions. Inside there are stone
chambers and many of the tombs were covered with clay
A stone stele, from the year 414 AD, with 1590 characters, telling the story of the founding of the Koguryo state, is part of the Imperial Tombs complex. It is 6.4 meters high and has a square section of 1 to 2 meters width.
Nobles’ tombs – 27 tombs of which 26 have an earth mound on top. They have a stone chamber and are decorated with wall paintings, describing daily life scenes, parties, sports, hunting, nature, gods, fairies, dragons and others.
The Koguryo kingdom starts as a regional power and
ethnic group in the year 37BC, when its first capital city,
Wunu Mountain City was built. 30 years later the capital
moved to Guonei city. The capital moved again in 427 AD
to Pyonyang, nowadays the capital of the Democratic
Peoples Republic of Korea.
Guonei City and Wandu Mountain City were the economic, political and cultural centers of the Koguryo for hundreds of years. Guonei City was destroyed in the year 197 AD when Koguryo were defeated by another power. Wandu Mountain City was built in 209 AD. Both cities were damaged in wars and rebuilt several times.
After moving the capital to Pyongyang, Guonei city was considered as a “supporting capital”. It was then deserted for long period and repaired again after the founding of modern Ji’an in 1902.The remains of Wunu city were repaired in the years 1999 and 2002.
The sites of the historic towns were declared as protected monuments since the second half of the 20th century and in 1983 all the residents of newly built Wandu city moved out.
Thousands of Koguryo tombs are known. Their first excavations date to the period of the Japanese occupation, during World War II. The People’s Republic of China attached great importance to their protection, study and conservation.
The tombs located at the foot of the mountain and slopes in Tonggou Plains. Among them, 14 tombs have been identified and 2 tombs are still shadowed with doubt.
The listed tombs include 14 Tombs in totality, they are: Maxian Tomb No.0626, Qianqiu Tomb, Xida Tomb, Maxia Tomb No.2100, Maxian Tomb No.2378, Qixingshan Tomb No.0211, Qixingshan Tomb No.087 1, Imperial Tomb of Taiwang and Haotaiwang Stele, Linjiang Tomb, Yushan Tomb No.2110, Yushan Tomb No.0992, Tome of General and Subordinate Tomb No.1.
These are highest-level stone tombs with the richest characteristics in the period of Koguryo. High location, isolation and large mausoleum area are the characteristics of the imperial tombs of Koguryo. There have been archaeological discovery to support them.
Each imperial tomb is the comprehensive embodiment of the burial system of Koguryo royal families. At a time when there is an extremely lack of historical materials to study Koguryo's imperial tombs, these property sites are playing a unique and irreplaceable role with its rich archaeological information.
1) Maxian Tomb No.0626 (麻线0626号墓), codenamed MM0626. It is a base-altar piled-stone tomb. The base altar is of the protective wall type, divided into six steps. The square tomb is now 7 meters and the side length is 40 meters. The tomb pit in the middle is well preserved. There still remain tile and brick pieces that indicate the existence of building dated very early.
2) Qianqiu Tomb (千秋墓), codenamed MM1000. It got the name for the inscription brick with characters "Qian Qiu" found on the tomb. This is the tomb with the largest volume in the property site. It is a step-altar stone chamber tomb. The square tomb's length of side is more than 60 meters and height about 9 meters. The step altar still has three steps. Huge rocks support the tomb. A sacrifice altar was found to the south of the tomb. Some believe it is the tomb of King Guguo Rangwang.
3) Xida Tomb (西大墓), codenamed MM500. It got the name for its location in the west part of the Maxian tombs area. The step-altar piled-stone tomb is square, 55 meters long and 9 meters high. It has nine steps. Grey tile eaves with the pattern of cloud has been found. A huge pit was dug when it was illegally excavated. It divides the tomb into two parts. According to historical literature, it should be the tomb of King Xichuanwang.
4) Maxian Tomb No.2100 (麻线2100号墓), codenamed MM2100. It is a square step-altar piled-stone tomb. Its side length is 39 meters, and current height 6 meters. Two steps of altar can be recognized. The eave tiles with the pattern of lotus and tile pieces unearthed show that there used to be a building on the top of the tomb.
5) Maxian Tomb No.2378 (麻线2378号墓), codenamed MM2378. It is a step-altar piled-stone tomb. It is nearly a rectangular with a long side of 50 meters, a short side of 22 meters, and a height of 4 meters. The base altar was built along the landform. There are six steps. Many brick and tile pieces remain.
6) Qixingshan Tomb No.0211 (七星山0211号墓),codenamed QM0211. It is a square step-altar piled-stone tomb with a side length of 60 meters and an existent height of 10 meters. There still remain two stone steps. The tomb is covered with tile pieces. A huge pit dug during the illegal excavation almost divides the tomb into two pans. According to historical records, this should be the tomb of King Meichuanwang.
7) Qixingshan Tomb No.0871 (七星山0871号墓), codenamed QM0871. It is a rectangular step-altar piled-stone tomb. The side lengths are 35 and 35 meters. The existent height is 5.5 meters. Lots of tiles have been found at the tomb. A huge pit was dug by the soldiers during the war.
8) Tomb of Haotaiwang (Taiwang) (太王陵 i.e., King Kwanggaeto), codenamed YM0541. As the brick bearing the inscription of "Wish Tomb of Haotaiwang as solid as mountain" was found many times, people got to know it was the tomb of Haotaiwang. Haotaiwang, the 19th king of Koguryo, was named Tan De (373-414 AD). His full title is "Haotaiwang, Peaceful King of Vast Land”. His tomb is a square step-altar pile-stone tomb. Its length is 66 meters, and the existent height is 14.8 meters. The tomb chamber faces westward. The stone coffin chamber is in the shape of a Chinese gabled roof house. Many tiles have been found, including those with the pattern of lotus. It is the only tomb in Koguryo with the exact date and owner.
8-1) Located at 200 meters to the northeast of Taiwang Tomb. This stele (The Stele of King Kwanggaeto 好太王碑) bears merit for Tan De. His son, Changshou (Changsu), 20th king of Koguryo, built the tomb. The stele was erected in the 10th year (414 AD) of Yixi’s reign in the Eastern Jin Dynasty. It was roughly made from breccia ash tuff. Almost a square column, the stele is 8.39 meters high and 1-2 meters wide. On the four sides of the stele was inscribed 1,775 Chinese characters. Now about 1,500 characters can be recognized. The inscription was about the legend of the founding of the Koguryo state, early imperial system, the deeds of Haotaiwang conquering the cities and occupying the land, and the mausoleum management system. It is the archaeological material about Koguryo with the longest history and the largest number of characters. The discovery of Haotaiwang Stele proved the location of the center of Koguryo civilization long-forgotten since the Middle Ages. The Stele there takes up an important position in the archaeological remains in Northeast Asia.
9) Linjiang Tomb (临江墓), codenamed YM0043. It is a step-altar pile-stone tomb in the shape of rectangular. Its side lengths are 83 and 56 meters. The existent height is 8.5 meters. Fourteen irregular steps can be seen in the north. Many remnant tiles are found. The tomb was built at an early date.
10) Yushan Tomb No. 2110 (禹山2110号墓), codenamed YM2110. It is a step-altar pile-stone tomb in the shape of rectangular. Its side length is 66 x 38 meters. The height remains 7 meters. A layer of base altar can be seen around the tomb. Many tile pieces with the pattern of ropes are found. Bronze carriage parts were once found on the tomb. The tomb was built at an early date.
11) Yushan Tomb No. 0992 (禹山0992号墓), codenamed YM0992. It is a step-altar pile-stone tomb, square, length side 58 meters and 6 meters high now. Four steps can be seen, Eave tiles with words and pattern of cloud and many tile pieces have been discovered.
12) Tomb of General (将军坟), codenamed YM001. It is best-preserved stone-structure tomb, which belongs to the King Changshouwang, the 20th king of Koguryo. As it is a pointless cone, the tomb is also called “Oriental Pyramid”. The tomb is a square step-altar tomb with stone chamber, square, side length 31.58 m and 12.4 meter high. There are seven altar steps and 22 layers of stone. a square chamber was opened in the middle of fifth step. Two stone coffin beds are in the chamber, covered by huge stone. Around the tomb are 12 10-ton huge stones to back it. On the northern side of it are several subordinate tombs. There is a ritual side about 200 meters to the southwest, covering five hectares. The tomb, designed perfectly and made exquisitely, is the top tomb building in Koguryo. Since then, stone tombs could never be seen in the imperial tombs of Koguryo.
12-1) Subordinate Tomb No.1 to the tomb of General (1号陪葬墓), codenamed YM0002. It is at the back of the Tomb of General, 50 meters from it. The square stone altar tomb has a side of 10 meters and a height of 3.5 meters. It has three steps, the first one is as high as 1.9 meters. The tomb chamber is built by four huge stone blocks, with another one put on the top of it. There are conclave slots on the inner surface of the top stone block to resist water with the shape similar to Liaodong Stone Shed. It could be an imperial tomb.
The listed Nobles’ Tombs are 26 in totality.
These tombs include Ohoe Tomb #1 (五盔坟1号墓), Ohoe Tomb #2 (五盔坟2号墓), Ohoe Tomb #3 (五盔坟3号墓), Ohoe Tomb #4 (五盔坟4号墓), Ohoe Tomb #5 (五盔坟5号墓), Tomb of Dancing Figure (舞踊墓), Tomb of the Wrestling Figure (角抵墓), Manger Tomb (马槽墓), Changchuan Tomb #1 (长川1号墓), Changchuan Tomb #2 (长川2号墓), Changchuan Tomb #4 (长川4号墓), Wangzi Tomb (王字墓)、 Huanwen Tomb (环纹墓)、 Tomb of Ranmou (冉牟墓)、 Scattered Lotus Tomb (散莲花墓)、 Four Gods Tomb (四神墓), Yushan Tomb No. 2112 (禹山2112号墓), Yushan Tomb No. 3319 (禹山3319号墓), Sikui Tomb No.1 (四盔坟1号墓), Sikui Tomb No.2 (四盔坟2号墓), Sikui Tomb No.3 (四盔坟3号墓), Sikui Tomb No.4 (四盔坟4号墓), Elder Brother's Tomb (兄墓), Younger Brother's Tomb (弟墓), Zhetianjing Tomb (折天井墓), and Tortoise Shell Tomb (龟甲墓).
Haotaiwang/Kwanggaeto Tomb and Stele
Tomb of Taiwang (Haotaiwang/Kwanggaeto), codenamed YM0541. As the brick bearing the inscription of "Wish Tomb of Haotaiwang as solid as mountain" was found many times, people got to know it was the tomb of Haotaiwang. Haotaiwang (好太王), the 19th king of Koguryo, was named Tan De (고담덕 高談德 373-414 AD). His full title is "Haotaiwang, Peaceful King of Vast Land” (국강상광개토경평안호태왕 國岡上廣開土境平安好太王). His tomb is a square step-altar pile-stone tomb. Its length is 66 meters, and the existent height is 14.8 meters. The tomb chamber faces westward. The stone coffin chamber is in the shape of a Chinese gabled roof house. Many tiles have been found, including those with the pattern of lotus. It is the only tomb in Koguryo with the exact date and owner.
Located at 200 meters to the northeast of Taiwang Tomb. The stele (The Stele of King Kwanggaeto 好太王碑) bears merit for Tan De. His son, Changshou (Changsu), 20th king of Koguryo, built the tomb. The stele was erected in the 10th year (414 AD) of Yixi’s reign in the Eastern Jin Dynasty. It was roughly made from breccia ash tuff. Almost a square column, the stele is 8.39 meters high and 1-2 meters wide. On the four sides of the stele was inscribed 1,775 Chinese characters. Now about 1,500 characters can be recognized. The inscription was about the legend of the founding of the Koguryo state, early imperial system, the deeds of Haotaiwang conquering the cities and occupying the land, and the mausoleum management system. It is the archaeological material about Koguryo with the longest history and the largest number of characters. The discovery of Haotaiwang Stele proved the location of the center of Koguryo civilization long-forgotten since the Middle Ages. The Stele there takes up an important position in the archaeological remains in Northeast Asia.
Tomb of King Haotaiwang/Kwanggaeto (廣開土太王/광개토대왕)
Gwanggaeto the Great of Goguryeo (374-413, r. 391-413) was the nineteenth monarch of Goguryeo, the northernmost of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. His full posthumous name roughly means "Very Greatest King, Broad Expander of Territory, bringer of Peace and Security, buried in Gukgangsang." Under Gwanggaeto, Goguryeo once again became a major power of Northeast Asia, as it had been earlier, during the second century CE. Many consider this loose unification under Goguryeo to have been the first and only true unification of the Three Kingdoms.
Today, King Gwanggaeto the Great is regarded by Koreans as one of their greatest historical heros, and is one of only is one of two rulers, along with King Sejong who were given the title Great after their name. His legacy of greatly expanding the territory of Korea during his reign gave his people great confidence, hope and strength.
Gwanggaeto Stele (好太王碑)
The stele of Gwanggaeto the Great of Goguryeo was erected in 414 by Jangsu of Goguryeo as a memorial to his deceased father. It is one of the major primary sources extant for the history of Goguryeo, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, and supplies invaluable historical detail on his reign as well as insights into Goguryeo mythology.
It stands near the tomb of Gwanggaeto in what is today the city of Ji'an along the Yalu River in present-day northeast China, which was the capital of Goguryeo at that time. It is carved out of a single mass of granite, stands nearly 7 meters tall and has a girth of almost 4 meters. The inscription is written exclusively in Classical Chinese and has 1,802 characters.
The stele has also become a focal point of varying national rivalries in East Asia manifested in the interpretations of the stele's inscription and the place of the Empire of Goguryeo in modern historical narratives. An exact replica of the Gwanggaeto Stele stands on the grounds of War Memorial of Seoul and the rubbed copies made in 1881 and 1883 are in the custody of China and the National Museum of Japan, respectively, testament to the stele's centrality in the history of Korea and part of Manchuria.
Left: Rubbed copy of Gwanggaeto Stele (Kyushu National Museum) Entire copy Entire text.
Alternate Rubbed copy
Entire Rubbed copy
Middle: A life-size replica of Gwanggaeto Stele at The War Memorial of Korea
Right: Gwanggaeto Stele replica, Independence Hall of Korea.
The stele tells the origin of the kingdom, the long
march to the south from the Amur River to the high valley of the Amnok River, before
the region of Tonggu became the cradle of the new power.
“Here is the territory where, in times past, the first king Chumu founded [his kingdom]. He came from Puyo in the north; [he was] the son of the Heavenly Emperor. His mother [was] the daughter of the river god. […] In the seventeenth age, this grandson, the great and good […] Kwanggaeto ascended the throne; […] the majestic sky reflected his benevolence; his strength as a warrior extended across the four seas.” [Maurice Courant, “Stèle chinoise du royaume de Ko Kou Rye”, Journal asiatique, Paris, 1897]
The stele further tells of the expeditions to the south of the Korean peninsula to hold off Japanese raids. Covering an immense territory, the Koguryo kingdom thus appears as a real power, the only one rivalling the neighboring principalities of northern China.
Tomb of the General (Pyramid of the East)
The Tomb of the General (Chinese: 將軍冢 Jiangjun-zhong, Korean: Janggun-chong, Hangul: 장군총), also known as the Pyramid of the East, is the burial tomb of King Changshou (Changsu, Jangsu), the 20th king of Koguryo.
Tomb of General, codenamed YM001. It is best-preserved stone-structure tomb, which belongs to the King Changshouwang, the 20th king of Koguryo. As it is a pointless cone, the tomb is also called “Oriental Pyramid”. The tomb is a square step-altar tomb with stone chamber, square, side length 31.58 m and 12.4 meter high. There are seven altar steps and 22 layers of stone. a square chamber was opened in the middle of fifth step. Two stone coffin beds are in the chamber, covered by huge stone. Around the tomb are 12 10-ton huge stones to back it. On the northern side of it are several subordinate tombs. There is a ritual side about 200 meters to the southwest, covering five hectares. The tomb, designed perfectly and made exquisitely, is the top tomb building in Koguryo. Since then, stone tombs could never be seen in the imperial tombs of Koguryo.
Subordinate Tomb No.1 to the tomb of General, codenamed YM0002. It is at the back of the Tomb of General, 50 meters from it. The square stone altar tomb has a side of 10 meters and a height of 3.5 meters. It has three steps, the first one is as high as 1.9 meters. The tomb chamber is built by four huge stone blocks, with another one put on the top of it. There are conclave slots on the inner surface of the top stone block to resist water with the shape similar to Liaodong Stone Shed. It could be an imperial tomb.
Tomb of the General (Pyramid of the East)
The Tomb of the General is located in Ji'an, Jilin province China, a former capital of Goguryeo. The pyramid was "rediscovered" in 1905.
The base of the pyramid measures approximately 75 meters on each side, about half the size of the Egyptian pyramids and is eleven meters in height. The pyramid is composed of 1,100 dressed stone blocks. Large stones, each measure approximately 3 x 5 meters were placed around the base of the pyramid and can still be seen today. The monumental size of the tomb suggests that the Goguryeo elite were very powerful and the kingdom had the ability to mobilize large numbers of people for building projects.
The pyramid-style tomb was typical of Goguryeo culture and was transmitted to the kingdom of Baekje's burial practices.
The body of the dead elite was placed on a "stone base, surrounded by stones, and then surmounted by a rectangular platform or pyramid of dressed stones."
The design of the tombs incorporated entrances and passageways which facilitated grave robbery and so like most Goguryeo and Baekje tombs, the General's Tomb contains no archaeological artifacts.
Four dolmen tombs were also placed on each corner of the pyramid.
Kim Il-sung's reconstruction of the supposed tomb of Dangun is based on the Tomb of the General.
Tomb of the General
Koguryo King Jangsu's family tomb
Ohoe Tombs #4 (Wukui Tombs #4, 五盔墳群4號墓)
One of the tombs of the nobles, 6th-7th century, Ji'an, Northeastern China.
It is a wall painting tomb with stone chamber and square corbel caisson, round-corner roof. The four walls in the tomb are painted green dragon, white tiger, rosefinch, and tortoise, lotus, fire and human figures. The beams are painted with dragons. On the caisson are fairies (celestial beings, immortals), clouds and stars, sun god (Fuxi 伏羲), moon god (Nuwa 女媧). On the ceiling are dragons and tigers. It is a typical tomb of late Koguryeo wall painting tomb.
The Ohoe site is called Wukui in China.
Main chamber and East ceiling mural. Ohoe Tomb #4
Ohoe Tomb #4 is decorated with wall paintings
Some of the Mural Paintings are highlighted below: #1: a golden dragon occupies the top of the ceiling, #2: Three-legged sun crow is flanked by two celestials In the middle, #3: Sun-god and Moon-goddess on the left ceiling, and #4: Celestial musician and dancers on upper east ceiling.
The golden dragon image
Three-legged Sun Crow with flying celestials
#2: Three-legged Sun Crow with flying celestials Illustration
Goguryeo Tomb Murals - Sun Crow with flying celestials - East ceiling, Ohoe Tomb #4, 6th-7th century. Ji'an, China.
In this mural the sun, with its three-legged crow, is flanked by two celestials: one is riding a phoenix while playing a flute (right), and the other is riding a dragon (left).
Goguryeo Sun-god and Moon-goddess
#3: Goguryeo Sun-god and Moon-goddess Detailed image
Digital restored image
North side of the ceiling of the main chamber.
The deities of the sun and moon are male and female, respectively. The female deity holds a disc representing the moon above her head while the male deity holds a sun disc containing a crow above his head. Alternatively they are interpreted to be the Chinese deities Fuxi and Nüwa.
Left: Goguryeo-moon: Moon goddess from one of the chambers of the Goguryeo tombs, the Goguryeo-era Ohoe Tomb 4. The figure can also be said to be Nüwa 女娲, the first goddess in Chinese myth.
Right: Goguryeo-sun: Sun god from one of the chambers of the Goguryeo tombs, the Goguryeo-era Ohoe Tomb 4. The figure can also be said to be Fuxi 伏羲, the god and the husband of Nüwa in Chinese myth.
Main chamber and West ceiling mural. Ohoe Tomb #4
The stepped ceiling of Ohoe Tomb #4 begins with a lower band of sinuously intertwining snake or dragon forms. Above this is a band with deities of the forge (far left), a divine wheelwright (middle left), a dragon (middle), and a god of fire (right). The upper band displays a row of celestials flying or carried on birds. Its west beam (right) depicts the moon, while its south beam (left) includes the constellation sign of the South Dipper (not the Big Dipper, which is a northern constellation in Goguryeo tombs). Finally, the top of the ceiling hosts a directional symbol, the Yellow Dragon of the Center (closeup). Overall the decoration of this tomb is very similar to Ohoe #5.
Ohoe Tomb #4 West ceiling mural
Ohoe Tomb #4 West wall mural
A picture of a white tiger seen in the west wall mural.
Close-up view of the West ceiling mural
Immortals riding a dragon and goose
Immortal riding a dragon Immortal riding a goose
Immortals riding a dragon and a goose, in these closeups from the ceiling of Ohoe tomb #4. Daoist figures are often painted in Goguryeo and Chinese tombs, since Daoist ideas about nature and immortality appealed to the hopes and wishes of the deceased.
One of the immortals
God of the Forge
God of the Forge (Metal Tool-Maker)
Left: God of the Forge, Ohoe Tomb #4, 6th-7th century Ji'an, China. View larger image
Since metallurgy was a keystone technology of ancient civilizations, it came to acquire religious connotations and esoteric significance in addition to its practical function. Gods of the forge, like the Greek god Hephaestus and the Vedic god Tvastar, were celebrated in mythology and invoked to assure the success of the work, while human blacksmiths, like the swordsmiths of Japan and Indonesia (example), sometimes acquired a semi-priestly status.
Right: Modern advertising image for metal tools
Ohoe Tombs #5 (Wukui Tomb #5, 五盔墳群5號墓)
One of the tombs of the nobles, 6th-7th century, Ji'an, Northeastern China.
It is a wall painting tomb with stone chamber and square corbel caisson, round-corner roof. The stone walls in the tomb are painted four gods, lotus, fire. The beams are painted with dragons. On the caisson are fairies (celestial beings, immortals), clouds, sun god (Fuxi 伏羲), moon god (Nuwa 女媧), a human figure holding a torch (Legendary first fire maker 燧人氏), ox-head human figure (Legendary creator of agriculture and medicine 神農氏), wheel-maker, dragons and tigers.
Mural Paings in the Main chamber, Ohoe Tomb #5
Mural Paings in the Main chamber, Ohoe Tomb #5
The decoration of Ohoe Tomb #5 follows Ohoe Tomb #4 so closely that the same individual must have designed both.
Sun and moon gods Northeast corner and Ohoe IV Tomb.
Rosefinch (Red Bird) on south wall in Wukui Tomb No. 5
Immortals riding on a dragon and on a Kirin
Immortals riding on a dragon and on a Kirin Northwest corner of the main chamber.
The First Fire Maker and The Creator of Agriculture and Medicine
According to Chinese Legends
A human figure holding a torch (Legendary first fire maker 燧人氏) and an ox-head human figure (Legendary creator of agriculture and medicine 神農氏),
Left: An ox-head human figure (Legendary creator of agriculture and medicine 神農氏)
Right: Modern Painting of The First Fire Maker and The Creator of Agriculture and Medicine
Muyongchong Tomb (Dancing Figure Tomb 舞踊墓) 5th century ce
The Dancing Figure Tomb (Chinese: Wuyong, Korean: Muyong) in the Yushan tomb area of Ji'an city, Jilin province, Northeast China.
The Dancing Figure Tomb is an earth tomb, similar to The Wrestling Figure Tomb with stone chamber and wall paintings. The main wall has the painting of a couple sitting toward each other accompanied by maids. On the eastern wall is the famous dancing wall painting, including chorus, group dancers, lead dancer and audience. On the western wall is the wall painting of hunting. The caisson is painted with lotus, flower buds, odd animals, fairy birds, fairy figures, stars, wrestlers, music players, three-feet crow and toad. It is a early wall painting tomb of Koguryeo.
Paintings on West Wall of Dancing Figure Tomb
This hunting scene is regarded as a masterpiece. The mounted horsemen with bows and arrows pursue tigers and deer through a fantastical landscape with stylised mountains and trees that suggest representations of the tree of life. The mounted hunters wear the same headdress as the lead male dancer in the mural on the East wall. The details of the equipage show that the horses were fitted with elaborate reins and girdles, and the stirrup that was essential for the speed of the hunt. Every detail in this mural reinforces the dynamism of the composition, and the movement is highlighted by the contrast with the covered ox cart parked behind a tree to one side of the scene of the hunt, presumably waiting to transport the catch back home or possibly simply waiting to convey the master home in comfort. (Reference: The Australian National University - CHINA HERITAGE QUARTERLY: The Mural Tombs of Gaogouli-Koguryo)
The animal hunt was another aristocratic pastime to be enjoyed in the afterlife..
Paintings on East Wall of Dancing Figure Tomb
Left: Paintings on East Wall Close-up view of Paintings on East Wall
Right: Paintings on East Wall Ceiling include a three-star constellation (circles connected by lines) at upper right; a flying figure at left; a central lotus surrounded by a dragon, a phoenix, and a Chinese figure on a platform; and more lotuses at the bottom. View digital restoration image View larger image
In this section of the mural we see a row of five dancers performing a coordinated line dance behind a leading male wearing an elaborate headdress possibly containing feathers. The men wear loose trousers and long jackets, while the women wear long gowns tied at the waist over very full trousers. The long flowing sleeves of the dancers would have highlighted their arm movements. Ten musicians and singers provide accompaniment for the dancers. (Reference: The Australian National University - CHINA HERITAGE QUARTERLY: The Mural Tombs of Gaogouli-Koguryo)
Paintings on the Ceiling of East Wall
The serving scene
The serving scene shows the master and mistress seated on backless raised chairs and the food is being set on the master's side table by a male servant. Incense burners or braziers can be seen on other small tables.
The wife appears to be speaking and making expansive gestures with her hands. Not shown here is the more general view of the kitchen, from which we know that the master and mistress were waited on by a retinue of about eight servants, many of them women.
The serving scene and the fighting scene
The fighting scene is seen on the ceiling on top of the serving scene.
The fighting scene
The fighting scene on the ceiling of the serving scene.
Paintings on South Wall Ceiling of Dancing Figure Tomb
Two red birds are seen.
Gakjeochong Tomb (Tomb of the Wrestlers 角抵墓) 5th cent. A.D. Ji’an, Northeast China.
The Wrestling Figure Tomb is located in Yushan tomb area, 3 kilometers northeast of the city. It is an earth tomb with stone chamber and wall paintings. The tomb has left and right side chambers and a path to the main chamber with a square arch roof. The north wall is painted with banquet and drinking scenes. The best wall painting here is wrestling picture on the eastern wall. The caisson is painted with gods of sun and moon and the pattern of grasses. This is a tomb of early Koguryeo.
Ssireum (Korean wrestling) scene
Left: Ssireum (Korean wrestling) depicted on Goguryeo mural Alternate image
The Gakjeochong (각저총) mural, one of the Goguryeo tombs shows ssireum competition between Gogoryeo man and Seoyeokin (서역인, an Arab).
In the painting, two wrestlers with Central Asian features exert themselves under the supervision of a Korean referee with grey beard and staff (right)
Gakjeochong (Kakchŏch'ong) is also called the "Tomb of the Wrestlers" after the cirŭm (ssireum) wrestling scene.
Right: Detail of the wrestlers
Left: Dining Scene
The master, wearing armor, takes refreshment with two ladies. The diners relax beneath an elaborate canopy, accompanied by the usual retinue of servants and attendants.
Right: The tomb-owner drinking tea.
Kakjochong Tomb. East wall of the main chamber.
Left: Astronomical Ceiling
The construction of Gakjeochong's ceiling is the typical octagonal corbelled dome. Goguryeo astronomical ceilings are a mixture of mythological and symbolic motifs, constellations, stars, and planets. Although most of the Gakjeochong ceiling is taken up with scrolling cloud motifs, there are at least three constellations to be seen in the north, south, and southwest respectively. There is a heavily damaged sun crow in the east, and a moon toad (closeup) in the west.
Right: Sun crow Three-legged black bird inside a wheel.
Manger Tomb (Horse Trough 馬槽墓 Macao) in Yushan tomb area, Ji’an, Northeast China.
An earth tomb with double stone chambers and wall paintings. The wall painting about the killing of captives in north chamber is the only one of its kind. The right room of the south chamber has the wall painting of manger, from which the tomb got its name.
The tomb was named by a Japanese archaeologist in 1937 because the murals included a scene in a stable. However that mural was later destroyed by the action of opening the door of the tomb chamber. The tomb was again surveyed in 1962, and the door that had done the damage was repaired in 1977. This tomb has been dated to the 5th century.
Manger Tomb 馬槽墓
The scene of a soldier decapitating a prisoner of war 武士斬俘圖
The scene of a soldier decapitating a prisoner of war Alternate image
The depiction of warfare rarely appears in Koguryeo murals, but the Macao Tomb murals contain a scene interpreted to illustrate a soldier decapitating a prisoner of war. Scholars believe that the man delivering the fatal blow is intended to be a portrayal of the tomb occupant. The identity of the owner of the tomb is, however, not known.
Changchuan Tomb #1 (长川1號墓)
Earth tomb with stone chambers and wall paintings. It has front and rear chambers. The wall paintings in the front chamber display Buddhist worshipping by the leaders of Koguryeo. The northern wall has rich variety of wall paintings, including hunting, travelling, games, wrestling, carriage and dancing. They are masterpieces of wall paintings of folklore and figures in early Koguryeo. However, some parts of the wall paintings have been stolen recently. On the caisson are the wall paintings about Bodhisattva, flying fairies and lotus as well as religious scenes of the tomb owner worshipping Buddha and accompanied by servants. In the rear chamber are continuous wall paintings of lotuses. The caisson bears the pattern and Chinese characters of the Big Dipper. From the fact that the wall paintings are painted twice, it is likely that the tomb was used twice.
Paintings on East Wall of Front chamber, Changchuan Tomb #1
Ceiling Paintings on East Wall of Front chamber, Changchuan Tomb #1
Left: Illustration of Ceiling Paintings on East Wall of Front chamber
The door in East Wall of Front chamber is also the entrance to the rear chamber. The ceiling images of Buddha, Kirins (Central Deity) and Red Phoenixes (Southtern Deity) indicates this is the main wall and astrologically facing south.
Right: The Scene of Worshipping Buddha
Paintings on North Wall, Changchuan Tomb #1
Illustration of Paintings on North Wall of Front chamber, Changchuan Tomb #1
Right Upper Section of Paintings on North Wall, Changchuan Tomb #1
Right upper section of Paintings on North Wall, Changchuan Tomb #1
The presentation of 7 precious gems.
The Hunting Scene - Lower Part of Paintings on North Wall, Changchuan Tomb #1