Treasures of DPRK Listed at UNESCO (5)
The mural tombs dating back to Koguryo Kingdom, a powerful state that existed for one thousand years (B.C. 277-A.D. 668), show well the outstanding architecture and pictorial art of the Korean nation.
Chambers of the tombs were built with stone on hills and flatlands and covered with earth. Various themes of murals can be seen in the chambers.
Koguryo mural tombs are divided into those with figure and genre paintings, those with figure and genre paintings and pictures of four guardians and those with pictures of four guardians.
Typical of the tombs with figure and genre paintings are the mausoleum of King Kogukwon (4th century) and the Tokhung-ri mural tomb (408).
The tombs with figure and genre paintings and pictures of four guardians hold an overwhelming majority in the Koguryo mural tombs. Among them is the Yaksu-ri mural tomb (late 4th century-early 5th century) which has well-designed chamber with murals rich in content.
The Honam-ri tomb (5th-6th century) and the three tombs in Kangso (late 6th-7th century) are those representing the tombs with pictures of four guardians (blue dragon, white tiger, phoenix and snake-tortoise).
There are many Koguryo mural tombs in Pyongyang and South Hwanghae Province of the DPRK.
They are well preserved as national treasures thanks to the policy of the Workers' Party of Korea on national heritage preservation.
In July Juche 93 (2004), 63 Koguryo tombs including 16 Koguryo mural tombs were registered as world cultural heritages of UNESCO.