Anak Tomb No. 3

January 5, 2023

Anak Tomb No. 3 is the mausoleum of King Kogugwon (331-371), the 21st king of Koguryo (277BC-AD 668), located in Oguk-ri, Anak County, South Hwanghae Province. It was unearthed in April 1949.

Built in the middle of the 4th century, the tomb is one of the world’s cultural heritage elements widely known as a precious historical relic representing the Koguryo tombs with murals in terms of scale, content of murals and historical and artistic value. 

The half-underground tomb with stone chamber and earth mound was built by digging a wide hole on top of a high hill with an extensive view and making various compartments with big plain rocks.

The chamber is composed of the door, front and inner compartments and two side compartments on either side of the front one and the L-shaped corridor.

The complicated structure of the chamber, reminding you of an underground palace, was created out of a desire to recreate the magnificent and splendid residence of the royal family of Koguryo.

All the walls in several compartments were built up with one plain rock, and one of them is 4.68 metres long.

In addition, there are two stone doors weighing over half a ton in the door compartment. However, the big heavy stone doors can be easily opened or closed and they are fitted to each other so precisely that they never collide to break, which demonstrates the ancestors’ ingenious stone processing techniques. 

As a tomb with murals on the theme of figure genre, it has brightly coloured mural paintings on the walls and ceilings. They were directly painted on stone walls.

In the western side compartment, there are murals depicting scenes of King Kogugwon in splendid silk dress managing the administrative business and of the queen with ladies-in-waiting.

Although well over a thousand years passed, the clear colours and vivid drawings remain as they were, showing the high development level of Koguryo’s pictorial art.

Especially, the depictions of main characters are excellent.

The tomb murals not only take the first place among the ancient tomb murals of Korea but also are regarded as a distinguished masterpiece in the world art history.

The structure of the compartments and contents of the murals provide a clear glimpse into Koguryo’s history and custom, architecture, painting, music, dance, armament and other fields.

Today, the tomb is under good preservation as a showcase of the history and features of cultural development of Koguryo, which was a powerful state in the East.


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