Bone Rank System


The Bone Rank System (Golpum or Kolpum) of ancient Korea was used in the Silla kingdom (57 BCE – 935 CE) in order to signal a person's political rank and social status. Membership of a particular rank within the system was extremely important, permitting a person to apply for certain jobs and deciding how they lived their everyday lives. The rigidity of the system, based as it was on lineage, allowed for very little movement between the classes resulting in a stagnation of talent, which eventually cost the Silla dear.

More about: Bone Rank System


  • 57 BCE - 668 CE
    Three Kingdoms Period in Korea (Silla, Goguryeo, and Baekje).
  • 520 CE
    Silla king Beopheung introduces the bone rank system (Golpum).
  • 668 CE - 935 CE
    Unified Silla Kingdom in Korea.