Kitora Burial Mound
Inside the Kitora Burial Mound at Asuka, Nara prefecture, in Japan is a tomb that dates to ca. AD 700 and has a celestial map and murals of cosmological significance. Both the map and the murals bear evidence of scientific and artistic diffusion from China to Japan via the Korean peninsula, but the map has the added significance of being the oldest extant celestial map that is currently known to be scientific in spirit and, more or less, complete. Since research on the map and murals is still in progress and might yield changes in details, readers are directed to the asterisked websites in the references for photographs, taken from small cameras which were inserted into the tomb, and related illustrations.
The Mound and the Tomb
Kitora's date of ca. 700 makes it a rather late burial mound since most of those in Japan were constructed during the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries AD. Although it had been replaced by nearby Fujiwara in 694 (until 710), Asuka had served as the capital...
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