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Topic ClosedRole of Han Lelang Commandery in Korean history

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flyingzone View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Role of Han Lelang Commandery in Korean history
    Posted: 31-Oct-2006 at 23:06
One of the most controversial topics in Korean archaeology and history concerns the Han Lelang commanderies that were established in the Korean peninsula during the Han dynasty in 108 BC and lasted for 400 years.
 
In the traditional view, the importance of the Lelang in Korean history was seen in its role as the common enemy, at the time when Korea first experienced colonial rule. Such sentiment is so strong that there are actually some Korean ultranationalists who even deny the very existence of the Lelang commandery.
 
This view has been further complicated by the fact that some of the earliest archaeological work on Lelang was initiated by the Japanese around the time of the First World War. Back then, the ulterior motives of territorial claims by the Japanese Government General's Office of Korea over the Korean peninsula and Manchuria made some Japanese Lelang scholars claim that Han Lelang culture in Korea was a purely Han Chinese phenomenon, with no native Korean variants and forms.
 
But what really were the relations between the Korean Peninsula and the Han Dynasty Commandery of Lelang? Hyung Il Pai (1992) presented a more balanced theoretical view that may help reconcile the nationalistic view of contemporary Korean scholars with pre-war Japanese colonial interpretations of Han Lelang's position in Korean prehistory. Basically, he argued that social and regional differentiation in the Korean peninsula were not possible without initial Han contact. Before the Lelang period, regional differences find expression ony in terms of minor variation in pottery styles. In contrast, third-century texts of the Weizhi (300 years after initial Han contact) reveal the existence of various guo (or tribal kingdoms) such as Puyo, Koguryo, Okcho, Eastern Ye and Samhan. They are recorded as having distinctively idfferent social organizations, subsistence systems, customs, and rituals.
 
The most important "traits of civilization" such as iron technology, writing, gold craftsmanship, and intesive rice agriculture, were derived from Han Lelang culture. Such widespread distribution of ideas and technology would not have been possible without the elite distribution network of seals, bronze mirrors, and luxury Han goods which stimlulated the initial exchange network.
 
According to Pai (1992), once this network was established in the core areas of Lelang, it quickly spread to all other parts of Korea and into southern-western Japan, forming the "Lelang Interaction Sphere" in Korean prehistory (that included Koguryo, Wa of Japan, and Samhan - Chinhan, Pyonhan, and Mahan)"
 
Without this initial phase, the second stage of the interaction sphere that comprised Koguryo, Paekche, Silla, and Kofun Japan, would not have been pssible. Extensive trade and diplomatic activities were heightened and reinforced by competition and warfare with Yamato Japan and the three kingdoms. These states shared common features in palatial architecture, in the spread of Buddhism and associated sculpture, as well as in gold artwork and jewellery.
 
Such competition and emulation in the rise and fall of overlapping dynasties in contiguous regions were also evident for Bronze Age China (among the Xia, Shang, and Zhou dynasties), for the European pre-Classical civilizations of the Mediterranean, and for Central Europe and its contacts with the more advanced Classical world of Greece and Rome.
 
Pai's (1992) hypothesis emphasizes both the uniqueness and the continuity of the features of Korean native traditions while at the same time presenting a systematic approach to the problem of interpreting external cultureal influences from China and Japan inside Korea without having to resort to "imperialistic" arguments involving migrations, conquests, or colonizations.
 
This, in my opinion, is doing REAL history without any political agenda.
 
Reference
 
Pai, U. I. (1992). Culture contact and culture change: The Korean peninsula and its relations with the Han Dynasty Commandery of Lelang. World Archaeology, 23(3), 306-319.
 


Edited by flyingzone - 31-Oct-2006 at 23:21
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Nov-2006 at 10:59

Flyingzone,

Agree.  Very good research too.
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Nov-2006 at 05:55

I believe the significance of Han Lelang commanderies is that it introduced statecraft into the region, and facilitated state-formation on the Korean peninsula.

Regardless, I would like to correct on somethings mentioned by flyingzone.
 
The most important "traits of civilization" such as iron technology, writing, gold craftsmanship, and intesive rice agriculture, were derived from Han Lelang culture. Such widespread distribution of ideas and technology would not have been possible without the elite distribution network of seals, bronze mirrors, and luxury Han goods which stimlulated the initial exchange network.
 
Korea already entered iron age before Han Dynasty invaded. And I doubt the Lelang commandery had anything to do with the spread of wet-paddy rice agriculture on the Korean peninsula, as it already did far before the establishment of the commandery.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Nov-2006 at 11:19
Good point. But I have a feeling that what Pai was referring to was both the scale and advances in agricultural technologies. I am pretty sure that prior to the establishment of the Lelang commandery, as you mentioned, wet-paddy rice agriculture had already been in practice in Korea.
 
It would be good, though, if one can find research studies that look into the historical development of intensive rice agriculture on the Korean peninsula.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Nov-2006 at 19:48
I personally don't much about Pai's work. Considering that he's more of an academic rebel against the mainstream academic community, I don't pay any attention to him or his work.
 
I still doubt Lelang commandery had anything to do with agriculture in China. In none of the works I've seen so far have I seen Lelang commandery taking any significant part in spread of agriculture in Korea. Lelang commandery served as a trading post, with very limited political influence on the Korean peninsula, mostly exploiting Korea's iron production. And as far as I know from common sources, it was under the Korean three kingdoms when agriculture went through significant advances and spread.


Edited by cydevil - 10-Nov-2006 at 19:50
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Nov-2006 at 17:55
As I understand it 3 or 4 of the commanderys were gone by 75 BC yep thats all I have to contribute to this thread XD
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Dec-2006 at 12:30
But before Han established commandry in Korea, some Chinese had migrated to Korea,they even set up some states,may be they brought arriculture and iron to Korea, I doubt.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Dec-2006 at 13:17
Originally posted by tommy

But before Han established commandry in Korea, some Chinese had migrated to Korea,they even set up some states,may be they brought arriculture and iron to Korea, I doubt.
 
can you give me a timeline when Chinese migrated to Korea? and what states? and anything on Arigulture? not saying your wrong just interested in sources and when was Iron? Jin/Chin [Korea] exsisted from 2nd and 3rd centuries BCE and it was an Iron State
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Dec-2006 at 23:32
Originally posted by Easternknight

Originally posted by tommy

But before Han established commandry in Korea, some Chinese had migrated to Korea,they even set up some states,may be they brought arriculture and iron to Korea, I doubt.
 
can you give me a timeline when Chinese migrated to Korea? and what states? and anything on Arigulture? not saying your wrong just interested in sources and when was Iron? Jin/Chin [Korea] exsisted from 2nd and 3rd centuries BCE and it was an Iron State
[/quote]
 
I bet he's talking about the Gija myth.
 
*I give up on this quoting thingie.


Edited by cydevil - 30-Dec-2006 at 23:37
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Jan-2007 at 17:55
Relatively correct, flyingzone. Well done researching.
     
   
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Apr-2007 at 08:14
Blast furnaces for cast iron technique was practiced at least the 4th century BC in China. Cast iron molds for implements dating from the 4th century BC have also been discovered in China.  So Chinese is the pioneer in using iron.

Edited by Danny.T - 03-Apr-2007 at 06:28
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Apr-2007 at 08:25
It is said that Chin Han (Korea) was Chin people escaping  from China residing in Korea peninsula  after the downfall of Chin/Tsin Dynesty .
"A little knowledge is a very dangerous thing."
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Oct-2015 at 23:42
Just wanted to let you know that Hyung Il Pai is a WOMAN professor :) 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Oct-2015 at 09:29
You are aware that this thread is 8 years old.
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