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Lelang was a colony of Han Dynasty China, from roughly 108 BCE to 313 CE. It was located in what is today North Korea, with its center a walled city on the opposite side of the Taedong River from modern-day Pyongyang.

Lelang was a vibrant cultural center, with jades, lacquerwares, bronze mirrors, gold jewelery, glass, coins, molds for minting coins, and other materials found by archaeologists there. The area was actively engaged with trade with the Chinese mainland, and played a key role in communicating Chinese cultural influence, including the introduction of Confucianism and Chinese writing,[1] into the Korean peninsula.

It is said to be one of as many as a hundred Han colonies in Korea, including the North Chinese Commanderies, of which Lelang was one, lasting from 108 BCE to 313 CE, and the South Samhan Federation, lasting from 100 BCE until 280 CE.[2]


  • Conrad Schirokauer, David Lurie, and Suzanne Gay, A Brief History of Japanese Civilization, Wadsworth Cengage (2013), 17.
  1. Gallery labels, Art of Korea, LACMA.
  2. Gallery labels, Bojagi: Unwrapping Korean American Identities, Wing Luke Museum, June 2015.