Brief description of Kitora Tumulus

101About Kitora Tumulus

Kitora Tumulus, a tomb with elaborate murals, dates from the end of the 7th to the start of the 8th centuries.
A celestial map drawn on the stone chamber’s ceiling is a full-fledged Chinese astronomical chart. Murals depicting the four directional deities—the Blue Dragon, Red Phoenix, White Tiger, and Black Snake-Tortoise—make this the only example in Japan of a tomb with all four images surviving. Figures representing the Chinese zodiac, drawn as animal heads on human bodies, are of extremely high historic and artistic value.