King Kongmin’s Mausoleum, Stone Sculpture Museum

Pyongyang, March 29 (KCNA) — The mausoleum of King Kongmin in Kaesong City, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is one of the typical cultural heritages of the Korean nation.

Kongmin was the 31st king of Koryo (918-1392). The mausoleum is biggest among the tombs of the successive kings of Koryo and was built with much labor. It represents the form of mausoleums in the closing years of Koryo.

The mausoleum consists of twin stone tombs, one for the king in the west and the other for the queen in the east. It is surrounded by various kinds of stone sculptures. It, therefore, is called “stone sculpture museum”.

The rectangular compound of the mausoleum is treble-terraced and elongated from east to west. It is approached up a slope by broad stairs.

The upper terrace is 40 meters from east to west and 24 meters from north to south. In the center of the terrace, there are the twin tombs, each standing on the dodecagon stone foundation. The grave mound is about 6.5 meters high and 13.7 meters in diameter. Each grave mound is surrounded at the bottom with wall-like stones on which 12 spirits of terrain including mouse, cow, tiger and rabbit are engraved in relief.
There are four statues of civil officials on the middle terrace and four statutes of military officers on the third terrace with two at the end of each side.
The statues, about 3.3 meters high, evoke most convincingly the characters that they represent. Their open air setting makes them particularly effective. In bold relief against the mountains looming in the background, they look quite majestic. They are excellent ones among existing old stone sculptures in Korea.

After looking round the statues, a foreign historian said: it is wonderful that in the Middle Ages, Europeans used marble as the basic material of stone sculpture but Koryo people created such delicate statues with granite solider than marble as the basic material.

Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/htsh_kkch/1272906106/

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