Monday, May 6, 2013

Gyeongju, South Korea - The Heavenly Horse Tomb

Updated note added at the bottom:
A tumulus (plural is tumuli) is a mound of earth and stones raised over a grave or graves.  If you haven't heard of these, go to and look up the word.  The amazing part is that these were built globally, even in Moundsville, West Virginia.  I will forever look suspiciously at a mound.

Today we are among the burial mounds of the Silla kings in Korea.

 A view between the mounds at the surrounding city.
 I am very glad that this area remains.  These mounds were always so obvious.  They became covered with vegetation and when they were discovered to be tombs, there were houses built throughout and on top of these hills.  The area on the left side of the photo is a tree covered tumulus.

 Often glad that these are written in English.
 This is the entrance to The Heavenly Horse Tomb.  The name is from a famous painting of a white horse which is depicted on a birch bark saddle flap. The horse, a Cheonma (Korean pegasus), has eight legs and is depicted with wings on its feet.
 I took one look around before entering the tomb.
 Inside was a nice museum.  Cases lined the walls and just as we entered, we were followed by a large group of students.  It became difficult to get photos but I did take one of this crown.  My research says that this is National Treasure No. 188, the Gold Crown of Cheonmachong.  It was found in 1973 in Cheonmachong (Tomb No. 155 also known as The Heavenly Horse Tomb).  It is believed to be the crown of King Soji or King Jijueng.
 The chamber contained a lacquered wooden coffin with burial goods placed around it.
 As we left, we passed a beautiful pond with nice seating areas.

We are on a tour, and it is a little frustrating to dash through these places. There are many interesting places to see in this city.  Worth a return trip?

Afternote:  I was reading this report (link below) about the tombs.  Go to the link to see a nice aerial view of the park.  This area was a densely populated area of the city and excavation began in 1973 as part of a comprehensive study of the area.  (I read it in the article.)  Reading on, I discovered that "the coffin has been reinterred where it was found, and visitors can step into the tomb to examine it. What? It is real??

Read more:

No comments: