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Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Bold and Beautiful Baekje, Part IV: Royal Tombs of Baekje Kingdom, Seoul Songpa-gu


It is presumed that the ancient royal tombs in Bangi-dong, Seoul Songpa-gu were built when the people of the Baekje Kingdom (one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea) settled in the capital around the Han River area during the period 18 BCE – 475 CE. There are 8 tombs altogether. They were first excavated in 1971 and later became a park during the restoration which started in 1983 and was completed in 1988. Only a few artifacts from the tombs remained as the rest had been stolen, but the tombs themselves were preserved well, and the structure is still apparent. These tumuli are stone cave tombs with an entrance channel and a broad interior chamber. Their exterior is a round earth mound.

These ancient tombs are not only an important historical site but are situated within Gobun Park. The paths between the ancient tombs are for the observation of the tombs and also for quiet strolling. There are resting areas around the tombs. Visitors can appreciate the peaceful atmosphere of the tumuli in harmony with nature.

The tumuli of Bangi-dong are stone cave tombs. They were constructed with a stone-walled chamber in which the body was placed. A passageway connects the tomb with the outside. They were covered by a circular mound on top. This style of tomb construction is considered to be the Baekje people's. Because it is built in the same style as other tombs of the later Baekje period, it is thought they were built after the Baekje had moved their capital from Seoul to Gongju, Southern Chungcheong Province (that time it was known as Woongjin). Furthermore, the style of Baekje's stone cave tomb is very similar to that of the stone chamber tombs found in the northern Kyushu region in Japan, strongly suggesting that the style of the Baekje tomb was transmitted to Japan.

Currently the tomb No.1 is the only tomb visitors can enter among the Bangi-dong tombs. The artifacts dug out from tomb No. 6 are of a very different style from the artifacts of the other Bangi-dong tombs. They show the typical style of Silla (one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea). It is presumed that the tomb No. 6 might have been built by the Silla people when they occupied Seoul during the mid 6th Century.