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Guide To Korean Historical Periods

Koryo Dynasty

Korea Timeline Chosun Dynasty United Silla Three Kingdoms Neolithic & Bronze Age

From This Period


Bowl with Celadon Glaze

Koryo Dynasty


The last Silla king abdicated the throne in the early 10th century and married the daughter of the upstart General Wang Kon, who founded the Koryo dynasty (918-1392). Repeatedly attacked by invaders from the north, the weakened Koryo was unable to repulse the Mongol forces of Kublai Khan who invaded in 1231, and ultimately annexed the peninsula in 1258. Under Mongol domination, Korean subjects were forced to adopt Mongol customs, language and dress. Nevertheless, the Koryo dynasty produced some of the finest cultural and artistic achievements in Korea's history. The capital of Kaesong was one of the world's most impressive cities. Koryo kings ordered the construction of hundreds of Buddhist temples and the creation of countless religious artworks. In 1234, Koreans invented the world's first movable type, and at about the same time carved the entire Buddhist canon from some 80,000 woodblocks. The most famous achievement, however, was to create ceramics with luminescent celadon glazes and delicate inlays.