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Koryo mural of Japanese apricot, bamboo found

Posted November. 14, 2000 19:22,   


Wall paintings of Japanese apricot (¡°maehwa¡±) and bamboo were found in a tomb of the early Choson Kingdom (1392-1910), causing a furor in the academic world.

Mural paintings of this type were thought to be extinct since they were drawn in the early Koryo Kingdom (918-1392).

The rare wall paintings were discovered in the grave of Songun Park Ik (1332-1398) in Kobop-ri, Chongdo-myon, Miryang City, Kyongsang-namdo, where a colored mural of the late Koryo period was found in September.

Park, who was known by his pen name ¡°Songun,¡± passed the state-run literary exam during the reign of King Kongmin (1330-1374) in the late Koryo Kingdom and served as finance minister. He is well known as a leading writer and one of the eight great scholars of the time along with Poun Chong Mong-Ju and Yaun Kil Jae.

The Dong-A University Museum in Pusan said Tuesday that it excavated the tomb of Songun, who died six years after the founding of the Choson Kingdom, last month and found the paintings on the four southern and northern sides of the walls in the stone chamber.

The murals symbolize the loyalty of Songun, a faithful retainer in the last days of the Koryo Kingdom, to the Koryo dynasty, museum chief Shim explained. They inherited the tradition of the painting of ¡°saehan samu¡± (three friends in winter season) and ¡°mae-juk-song¡± (Japanese apricot, bamboo and pine tree) which have rarely been found since similar works were discovered in the royal tomb of Koryo's founding king, Wanggon.

Seok Dong-Bin mobidic@donga.com