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A Heavenly Tomb

By Linda Tancs

The lavish lifestyles of South Korea’s elite during the Silla dynasty form part of a roofless museum in Tumuli Park.  Just four hours away from Seoul by bus, the 37-acre grounds contain 23 royal burial mounds.  The most celebrated (the interior of which is open to the public) is Cheonmachong, the “Heavenly Horse” tomb, a burial site for a 5th-6th century Silla king and his consort.  When the site was excavated in the 1970s, a mounted horse painting (the only one discovered from the Silla era) was found, along with over 10,000 artifacts of the good life, like jade tiger claw earrings and a gold crown embellished with jade tiger claws.  Clearly, it was good to be the king. 


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