Baekje (백제, 百濟;) was a kingdom in southwestern Korea. In Korea, it is known as one of the Three Kingdoms, along with Goguryeo and Silla. It was destroyed by an alliance of Silla and the Tang Empire AD 660.
According to Samguk Sagi, Baekje was founded in 18 BC by by King Onjo, who led a group of people from the kingdom of Buyeo in Manchuria, to the Han River region in the middle of Korea. (King Onjo also claimed to be a son of the founder of Goguryeo.) During the reign of King Goi (234-286), the state systems of the kingdom were consolidated.
And also according to Samguk Sagi, one of small city-states in the Han River basin in Mahan was called Baekje (伯濟). Baekje as a kingdom first appeared in 345 in Chinese records.
King Geunchogo (346-375) expanded its territory to the north through the war against Goguryeo, whilst annexing the Mahan societies in the south. During this period Chinese culture and technology were actively adopted. The original capital, Hanseong (present Seoul), contains the Mongchon Mound Castle, the Pungnap Mound Castle and many tombs of the ruling classes centered at Seokchon-dong.
After that period, Baekje retreated under the continuous, southward, military threat of Goguryeo, and in 475, the capital, Hanseong, was overrun by the invading troops of Goguryeo. After this invasion, the capital of Baekje was moved to Ungjin (present-day Gongju), and a military solidarity treaty was made with Silla against Goguryeo.
In 538, King Seong moved his capital to Sabi (modern-day Buyeo), and re-strengthened the royal power, rebuilding his kingdom as a strong state. The Sabi Period witnessed the florescence of the Baekje culture, alongside the development of Buddhism, which Baekje transmitted to Japan, along with craftspeople, artifacts, and royal customs.
The tomb of King Muryeong (501-523), although modelled on Chinese brick tombs and yielding some imported Chinese objects, also contained many funerary objects of the Baekje tradition, such as the gold diadem ornaments, and gold earrings. Mortuary practices also followed the unique tradition of Baekje. This tomb may be seen as a representative tomb of the Ungjin Period.
A splendid gilt-bronze incense burner (백제금동대향로) excavated from an ancient Buddhist temple site at Neungsan-ri, Buyeo county, and considered to be the essence of the Baejke culture, vividly demonstrates the peak of Baekje achievements. The creativity and excellence of the Baekje culture can be appreciated through the delicate and elegant lotus designs of the roof-tiles of this culture, the splendid and beautiful brick patterns, the beauty of the flowing curves of the pottery style, and the flowing and elegant epitaph writing.
The mildly smiling Buddha faces in the Buddhist sculptures, and the magnificent, but refined, pagodas of Baekje show this creativity linked with the religion.