Three Kingdoms

The social and cultural development of the “Three Kingdoms” The social and cultural development of the “Three Kingdoms” The Three Kingdoms were founded after the fall of Gojoseon, and gradually conquered and absorbed various other small states and confederacies. The Three Kingdoms period ran from 57 AD until Silla’s triumph over Koguryo in 668,[1] which marked the beginning of the North and South States period (????? ) of Unified Silla in the South and Balhae in the North. The Three Kingdoms of Korea(???? refer to the ancient Korean kingdoms of Goguryeo, Paekche and Silla, which dominated the Korean peninsula and parts of Manchuria for much of the 1st millennium. I think it is very interesting that in ancient China also had a period named “three kingdoms”. But we all known, it’s totally different with the “Three Kingdoms” in Korea. China would be Sui and Tang dynasties when Korea was in the period of “Three Kingdoms”. In the Chinese history, Sui and Tang dynasties had been the most prosperity period. Sui and Tang dynasties had a strong influence in Asia; the relationship of the Three Kingdoms with China presented a complex situation.
On one hand, the three kingdoms launched bold military assaults against china itself at times, one the other hand, none of the Three Kingdoms showed any hesitation in adopting whatever elements of Chinese culture and statecraft might be useful for its own development. The social development of the “Three Kingdoms” The Koguryo Kingdom was founded in 37 B. C. , and by the first century, it had firmly established itself as a powerful state. Koguryo developed into a powerful nation and acted as a bulwark against the aggressive northern nations and China. 2] (There is another view in china that the ancient Kingdom of Koguryo (37 BC–AD668) was China’s vassal state, of course this view ignited a firestorm of protest in South Korea. [3]) When we talk about the social development of Koguryo we have to refer to the King Sosurim(371-384). The King Sosurim reshaped the pattern of Koguryo’s institutions. He adopted Buddhism and established a national Confucian academy in 372. Buddhism would give the nation spiritual unity, the national Confucian academy was essential to instituting a new bureaucratic structure, and the administrative code would systematize the state structure itself.
In this way Koguryo completed its initial creation of a centralized aristocratic state. These internal arrangements laid the groundwork for external expansion. King Kwanggaet’o(391-413) vigorously added new domains to Koguryo by conquest. His great military campaigns recorded on a huge stone stele still standing at his tomb. Dominated by this king, Koguryo became a vast kingdom extending over two-thirds of Korean peninsula and much of Manchuria as well. Then, King Changsu(413-491) the son of King Kwanggaest succeeded, during his reign brought Koguryo to its flourishing height.

In 427 King Changsu moved the Koguryo capital from P’yongyang, in this new metropolitan center other institutional arrangements now were perfected. Koguryo could be developed as prosperous as it was benefited from the military system I think. The military organization of Koguryo approximated the following: [3] First, Koguryo military system was based on a conscription system, Second, the King was the only supreme command and he alone could order the troops. It was considered treason to mobilize armed forces without the king’s approval. It was not until after King Sindae’s rule that a single army was divided in to central and local army.
The central army had more power than the local army. The central army was stationed in the capital to play the role of protecting the king and defending the capital. Meanwhile, the local army was stationed in local areas to play the role of maintaining public security and defending the borders. The central army composed of two kinds of soldiers, Professional soldiers from the ruler class called the Kuk-in (?? ), and the farmer soldiers mobilized by the conscription system who farmed in peace times and were mobilized as soldiers in times of war. The local army composed of three grade groups: Dae-sung, Je-sung, and Sung.
Paekche, one of three kingdoms into which ancient Korea was divided before 660. occupying the southwestern tip of the Korean peninsula, Paekche is traditionally said to have been founded in 18B. C. in the Kwangiu area by a legendary leader named Onji. [4]( Onjo and his followers, who are described in historical records as having been responsible for the founding of Paekche Kingdom, were immigrants from Puyo in northeast China. They settled in the Han River valley at the borders between Mahan and Ye population at the end of the first century B. C. as described in the Annals of Paekche in Samguk Sagi(Records of the Three Kingdoms). )[5] In the mid-3rd century during the reign of King Koi, Paekche concentrated its strength in the greater part of the Han River basin in order to solidify its base as an ancient kingdom, and in the mid-4th century during the reign of Kunch’ogo, it progressed into its Golden Age. King Kunch’ogo conquered the remaining land of Mahan to the south, completely unified the Honam district (now Cholla-do) and by rising victorious over battles with Koguryo, ruled over the Hwanghae Province to the north.
During this period, Paekche also made inroads into Japan and parts of China including Shandong and Liaoxi. In the mid-4th century, Koguryo suffered a great loss as a result of invasions by Former Yan and Paekche but in the latter half of the 4th century, during the reign of King Sosurim, Koguryo accepted Buddhism, established a school called T’aehak, and through the promulgation of various laws, readjusted its national structure. During the consecutive reigns of King Kwanggaet’o and King Changsu, Koguryo greatly expanded its territory and held hegemony in north-eastern Asia.
Paekche, in the 5th century, confronted the southward advancement of Koguryo, lost the territory along the Han River basin and moved its capital to Ungjin (Kongju). With its power weakened, Paekche, in the 6th century under the reign of King Song, again moved its capital, this time to Sabisong (Puyo), and began readjusting its institutions in order to revive itself. King Song actively promoted cultural exchanges with the Southern Dynasties of China and introduced Buddhism to Japan. During this period, Paekche joined Silla to help control the Han River, only to lose it again to Silla.
Silla evolved out of Saro, one of the twelve walled­town states in the Chinhan area of southeastern Korea. This state of Saro took the lead in forming a confederated structure with the other walled town states in the region, and it is thought that the appearance of the first ruler from the Sok clan, King T’arhae (traditional dates 57-80 A. D. ), marks the beginning of this gradual process. By the time of King Naemul (356­402), then, a rather large confederated kingdom had taken shape, control­ling the region east of the Naktong River in modern North Kyongsang province.
Through both conquest and federation, Saro now had reached the stage where it rapidly would transform itself into the kingdom of Shilla. Naemul, the central figure in this unfolding historical drama, adopted a title befitting his new position as the ruler of a kingdom. Instead of isagum (“successor prince”), the term used by his predecessors, Naemul took the title maripkan, a term based on a word meaning “ridge” or “elevation. ” From this point on, the kingship no longer alternated among three royal houses but was monopolized on a hereditary basis by Naemul’s Kim clan.
In the course of his reign Naemul sought help from Koguryo in thwarting the designs of Paekche, which was making use of both Kaya and Japanese Wa forces to harass the fledgling Silla kingdom. This effort was successful, but it led to a slowing of the pace of Silla’s development. Silla had taken the step of fixing the right to the kingship in the house of Kim in the time of King Naemul, and before long, with the reign of Nulchi(417-458), the pattern of father to son succession to the throne was established .
Shortly thereafter the six clan communities were reorganized into administrative “districts”, bringing a step closer to fruition the design for centralization of governmental authority. It is not clear just when this restructuring was carried out, but it appears to have been under King Soji (479-500), that is, sometime in the latter half of the fifth century. The establishment of post stations throughout the country and the opening of markets in the capital where the products or different locales might be traded were among the consequences, no doubt, of such a centralizing thrust in Silla’s governance of its domain.
Meanwhile, to counter the pressure being exerted on its frontiers by Koguryo, Silla had concluded an alliance with Paekche in 433. It was at this time , most likely, that Silla was able to fully free itself from Koguryo’s influence in its internal affairs, and in the process Silla’s ties with Peakche became further strengthened. The fact that Silla forged marriage ties with King Tongsong of Paekche after the transfer of the Paekche capital to Ungjin in 475 is recounted in a well-known tale, and in the ensuing years the two countries carried out joint military operations on several occasions.
Having experienced these domestic and external developments, Silla finally completed the structuring of a centralized aristocratic state in the reign of King Beopheung (514-540). Under his predecessor, King Jinheung (500-514), Silla had achieved important advances in its agricultural technology, as plowing by oxen was introduced and, from about this same time, irrigation works were carried out extensively. The resulting increase in agricultural production must have been one factor in promoting change in Silla society. In the political sphere, then, the nation’s name was declared to be Silla” and the Chinese term wang (“king”) was adopted in place of the native title. These sinifications were not merely terminological changes but reflected Silla’s readiness to accept China’s advanced political institutions. Another significant political development of this period was the emergence of the Pak clan as the source of queens for Silla’s kings. The foundation thus having been readied, an administrative structure fully characteristic of a centralized aristocratic state was created in Silla in the reign of King Beopheung.
The clearest indication of this development is the promulgation of a code of administrative law in 520. Although its provisions are not known with certainty, it is believed to have included such regulations as those delineating the seventeen-grade office rank structure, prescribing proper attire for the officialdom, and instituting the kolp ‘um (“bone-rank”) system. “This was a system that conferred or withheld a variety of special privileges, ranging from political preferment to economic advantage, in accordance with the degree of respect due a person’s bone-bank, that is, hereditary bloodline.
There were two levels of so-called bone-bank itself, “hallowed-bone” and “true-bone. ” The hallowed-bone status was held by those in the royal house of Kim who possessed the qualification to become king. Those of true-bone rank also were members of the Kim royal house but originally lacked qualification for the kingship. The distinction between hallowed-bone and true-bone rank within the same Silla royal house of Kim originally seems to have been made on the basis of maternal lineage, but eventually the two bone-ranks coalesced into a single true-bone rank.
In addition there were six grade of “head-rank one. ” Head-rank six was just below true-bone status, while head-ranks three, two, and one probably designated the common people, that is, the non-privileged general populace. ”[6] The cultural development of “Three Kingdoms” When we talk about the cultural development of the Three Kingdoms, the Buddhism and Confucian come to mind easily. Buddhism and Confucian were first introduced to Korean in 4th century just the three kingdoms period. And they were not only spread widely in the three kingdoms, they had a deep influence on many aspects of the three kingdoms.
The Three Kingdoms accepted Buddhism, which greatly advanced and expanded the scope of their culture, political structure and society etc. First, the kingdom of Goguryeo invited a monk from China with Chinese Buddhist texts and Buddha statues in 372 A. D. Later, Buddhism was introduced to the kingdom of Paekche from Goguryeo in 384 A. D. In the case of the above two kingdoms, the royal families first practiced Buddhism. However, in the kingdom of Silla, the common people were attracted to Buddhism. After Lee Chadon’s martyrdom, King Beopheung officially recognized Buddhism in 527 A.
D. The influence of Buddhism was mentioned before; Buddhism in the Three Kingdoms flourished with the support of the royal family and the aristocrats. In this way, Buddhism became the state religion, which contributed to the national defense. Buddhism also had far-reaching affect in the art field of Three Kingdoms. For example, the Buddhist Temple, Buddhist sculpture, Buddhist mural etc. came to the fore with large numbers. “Buddhist sculpture went through a transformation of styles and influences as it passed on to the Three Kingdoms.
There is a scarcity of Koguryo. ……Buddhist images did appear in the form of lotus motifs and flame decorations on the walls of Koguryo tombs. The golden statues of the Maitreya shows the continued advancement of Paekche metal-working skills. There were also stone statues and pagodas that are a testament of Buddhist influences in Paekche. A distinction in Paekche sculptures that is local and purely Korean is the “Paekche smile” that the images possess. …… Silla sculpture is noted for its variety of forms(……), and different materials used(granite, bronze, gold, iron).
The most notable Buddhist sculptures of Silla include a relief image on a cliff face with Buddhist inscriptions, and images with Korean facial characteristics. ”[7] “The surviving secular art of the period consists chiefly of burial gifts taken from tombs. ……However, much pottery, along with items used for personal adornment, was uncovered in the second half of the 20th century from the less accessible Paekche and Silla tombs. The 1971 excavation of the tomb of King Munyong (died 523) and his queen in Kongju yielded many treasures, including gold crowns, silver and bronze items, and other decorative arts. …The most valuable pieces of Old Silla art came from huge mounded tombs in the Kyongju area. ……. ”[8] Three Kingdoms developed a colorful and refined aristocrat-centered Buddhist culture which was eventually introduced to Japan and greatly influenced the development of its ancient culture. “Confucianism has been the main foundation of traditional thought that deeply spread its roots in Korean society. Throughout Korean history, the Korean people respected Confucian learning and attached its great significance to education. This tradition continues to the present time.
There is no ancient Korean historical record about the introduction of Confucianism, but Confucianism was transmitted to Korea through continental China before the diffusion of Chinese civilization (Clark, 1981, pp. 91-94; Grayson, 1989, pp. 60-61; Yun, 1996). According to one important historical record, Samguk-saki (Historical Record of Three Kingdoms, Kim, 1145), the Three Kingdoms, Koguryo (37 BC-AD 668), Paekche (18 BC-AD 660), and Silla (57 BC-AD 935), were learning Chinese ideas and culture. Therefore, Chinese systems and ideas pervaded the three early states of Korea and had significant impact on Korean culture and society. [9] Through the above information, we can see that the Confucianism affected the Korean from the Three Kingdoms period. It introduced to Koguryo in 372 in first, and the first formal institution of the elite education Taehak (National Confucian Academy), built by King Sosurim of Koguryo in 372. The institution taught the Chinese letter and the Chinese classics, such as Confucian texts. Since the purpose of the institution was mainly to foster prospective government officials, the scions of the aristocratic class only could attend at the school.
The same with Paekche, it have the Confucian Academy, Paekche educated the Chinese literae humaniores and produced various Confucian academic scholars, many of whom contributed much to the development of the ancient Japanese culture. Silla accepted the Confucian at the last, the precept of fidelity of Confucian was valued by the member of the Hwarang bands, and this cohesive force was directed up-ward to bolster the authority of the throne. There were many kinds of arts and culture did a progress in the Three Kingdoms period. Such as painting, poetry and music etc. In here, I will introduce them just simply.
The painting of the Three Kingdoms period often has a strongly religious character, there’re some information can prove it to a certain extent (Korea’s earliest known paintings date to the Three Kingdoms period. Vivid polychrome paintings depicting shamanistic deities, Buddhist and Daoist themes, heavenly bodies and constellations, and scenes of daily life among Koguryo aristocrats Vivid polychrome paintings depicting shamanistic deities located along the north bank of the Yalu (Korean: Amnok) River near Ji’an, China, in the area around P’yongyang to the south, and in the Anak area in Hwanghae province.
Although the Koguryo custom of painting the plastered walls of tomb burial chambers spread to Paekche and Silla (as well as to Kyushu, Japan), only a few murals from these kingdoms survive. Paintings from the Three Kingdoms are mainly those from decorated tombs. The earliest dated Koguryo tomb, the Tomb of Tongsu, or Tomb No. 3, in Anak, south of P’yongyang, was built in 357. All other known tombs except for Tokhung-ni Tomb, bearing an inscription datable to 408 ce, are undated but can be roughly classified as early (4th century), middle (5th–6th century), or late (6th–7th century).
The early tomb murals were portraits of the dead master and his wife, painted either on the nichelike side walls of an entrance chamber or on the back wall of the main burial chamber. The paintings were executed on the plastered stone wall with mineral pigment. The colours used were black, deep yellow, brownish red, green, and purple. The general tone of the paintings is subdued. In the middle stage, though portraits were still painted, they depicted the dead master in connection with some important event in his life, rather than seated solemnly and godlike as in the earlier period.
In the Tomb of the Dancing Figures in the Tonggou region around Ji’an, the master is shown on the northern wall of the main chamber feasting with visiting Buddhist monks. A troupe of dancers is painted on the eastern wall and a hunting scene on the western one. The delicate wiry outlines of the first phase of Korean mural painting are replaced by bold, animated lines, which are quite distinct from the prevailing Chinese styles. In the hunting scene, mounted warriors shoot at fleeing tigers and deer. Lumps of striated clay are used to depict mountain ranges.
Forceful brushstrokes are used to heighten the effect of motion of the galloping horses and fleeing game. This sense of dynamism is characteristic of Koguryo painting reflecting the brave spirits of its people. In the third and final stage of Koguryo mural art, the technique of mural painting was improved and imagery refined under the influence of Chinese painting. Lines flow and colours are intensified. Genre paintings of preceding stages disappeared, and the Four Deities of the cardinal compass points now occupied the four walls, a concept derived from Daoist religious art of the Six Dynasties period.
Dating probably from the first half of the 7th century, the paintings of the Three Tombs at Uhyon-ni, near P’yongyang, and of the Tomb of the Four Deities in Ji’an are the best examples from the final phase of Koguryo fresco painting. Tomb painting spread to Paekche, where two examples of tomb wall painting can be found, the tombs of Songsan-ni in Kongju and of Nungsan-ni in Puyo. In addition, a pillow from the tomb of King Munyong (501–523), in Kongju, features fish and dragons and lotus flowers painted in flowing exquisite lines in ink against a red background.
In the greater Silla area, one decorated tomb at Koryong in the former Kaya territory and two tombs discovered in the 1980s at Yongju have survived, but the paintings in all three are badly damaged. The best example of painting from the Old Silla period is found on a saddle mudguard made of multi-ply birch bark discovered in the Tomb of the Heavenly Horse in Kyongju in 1973; the mudguard depicts a galloping white horse surrounded by a band of honeysuckle design. ) And the same with poetry and music, they also has a strongly religious character. I think this could occur in the introduced of Buddhism.
Most of poetry and music were teach by Buddhist monks or created by Buddhist monks. So we can see that the “flourishing of Buddhism both enriched the intellectual content of Three Kingdoms art and introduced markedly advanced artistic techniques, and in consequence works began to appear in which a more refined sense of beauty and harmony can be discerned. ”[11] Conclusion: Through searched amount of materials and sorted out them to be the existing writings,I finally finished the paper—The social and cultural development of the “Three Kingdoms”.
I have to say that it is a painstaking process, but I’m very gratified to find that I have in-depth understanding how the Three Kingdoms was. Of course, I just discoursed little aspect of it. Even then, I got some thoughts in my mind. According to my paper, each of the three kingdoms had rigid social status system. I supposed that the three kingdoms contained each other all the time. They form an alliance at times, but just for its own national interests. So they would launch war to defend their national interests. The three kingdoms had a complex relationship with China.
One hand, they didn’t want be controlled by China, another hand, they wanted to absorb the Chinese culture what can improve theirs’ comprehensive national strength. The transmission of Buddhism and Confucian shows the importance of learn advance culture. The advanced culture can promote the development of the construction of the political and economic, moreover, it is benefit to the growth of arts and culture. Chinese saying goes “taking history as a mirror”, in my opinion, it’s doesn’t work when you learn to some other country’s history.
When we learning foreign history we will take better understanding of what do they thinking, why do they do things like that… I think it’s a wonderful way to promote exchanges between the countries of the world. Bibliography: [1]Encyclopedia of World History, Vol I, P464 Three Kingdoms, Korea, Edited by Marsha E. Ackermann, Michael J. Schroeder, Janice J. Terry, Jiu-Hwa Lo Upshur, Mark F. Whitters. [2] http://blog. daum. net/cor1007/8743772 [3] ???? ??? ? ?? / ??? [4] http://www. britannica. com/EBchecked/topic/438085/Paekche [5] ???? ?? ????? ?? ?? by??? [6]? Korea old and new a history?
Ch. 3. Aristocratic Societies Under Monarchical Rule_ Political and Social Structure of the Three Kingdoms p32~p33 [7] http://scienceview. berkeley. edu/VI/index. html [8]http://www. britannica. com/EBchecked/topic/719289/Korean-art/283332/Three-Kingdoms-period-c-57-bce-668-ce [9]Radical Pedagogy (2001) ISSN: 1524-6345 Jeong-Kyu Lee, Ph. D. Division of Educational Policy Research Korean Educational Development Institute/Hongik University [10] ? Korea old and new a history? Ch. 3. Aristocratic Societies Under Monarchical Rule_ Political and Social Structure of the Three Kingdoms p39

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