News Card
A Time Capsule of the Underworld
from 1,300 Years Ago
‘Astana Tombs – A House of Eternity’

Held at the Central Asia Gallery located on the third floor of the Permanent Exhibition Hall at the National Museum of Korea, the ‘Astana Tombs- A House of Eternity’ exhibition showcases some of the NMK’s Central Asia Collection: relics and records excavated in the Astana Tombs by the Japanese Otani expedition team in the early 20th century. The exhibition displays the artifacts as they would have been originally discovered at the excavation site in order to help visitors easily understand the purpose and function of the excavated articles. The largest of the museum’s three Fuxi and Nuwa paintings, ‘The Painting of Fuxi and Nuwa’ is on display and its life-sized replica hangs from the ceiling, as it was originally located, to offer a glimpse of the atmosphere inside the tomb. Discovered in the main chamber alongside the painting, ‘the pottery painted with pearl designs and wooden trays’ is exhibited as a set, as documented in the lists and photographs made in 1916 when the museum acquired them. The exhibition provides a unique opportunity to see relics from the Astana Tombs of Turpan, essentially a time capsule of the underworld from 1,300 years ago. It grants audiences a one-of-a-kind experience to learn about these people’s desire for everlasting life after death.