Mahan and Baekje is a pioneering study of the Korean past from the perspective of everyday objects: ceramics made, used, and left behind by ancient Koreans themselves. Focusing on the third to fifth centuries CE in southwestern Korea, this book reexamines the social, political, and economic construction of the interconnected societies known as Mahan and the kingdom of Baekje. Pottery, which played central roles in Mahan’s and Baekje’s culinary practices, community gatherings, trade, and ritual, now sheds new light on the origins of Korean civilization.
Using advanced archaeological and geochemical techniques, this book traces the production, exchange, and use of pottery from Mahan and Baekje. The patterns reveal the shared underpinnings of Mahan and Baekje political economy, showing that the Baekje kingdom developed locally and not as the result of outside forces. Long-distance trade in Mahan and Baekje suggest a cosmopolitan ethos with roots in the deep past, while smaller scale exchanges hint at the complex web of social interactions that typified early Korean societies. Mahan and Baekje provides exciting new details of life at an epochal moment in ancient Korea.