Japanese Language Blog

Japanese Artifacts and Exhibits Posted by on Nov 19, 2010 in Culture

Japan has a long and rich history. Part of that history is rooted in ancient times. Proof of that can be seen in the items and exhibits excavated in Japan.

Dogū () is a traditional Japanese figurines from prehistoric Japan. These figurines are made of clay with goggled eyes, wide hips and a narrow waist. However, these figurines are not representations of human women. Some scholars believe that these figurines represent mother earth and were used in fertility rituals.

Kofun () is a generic term used to describe a tomb or grave in the shape of a mound. Kofun vary in size, but the most common sort of kofun found in Japan are key shaped and are called zenpo koenfun (前方後円). Archeologists often find earthenware, bronze mirrors, swords and other funerary items in the kofun.

Haniwa () are terracotta clay figures often found in kofun. There are different Haniwa figures that represent horses, soldiers, women and other entities. The haniwa were created to protect the deceased, and some scholars believe they were vacant receptacles for the soul to enter. The haniwa are treasured because some of the clothing, armor and weapons depicted on the figures show the culture in which it was made.

Hajiki (土師器,) is a form of reddish brown Japanese pottery. Hajiki items were made by coiling long pieces of clay together. The pieces were then blended into a smooth surface with a wooden chip. The hajiki have wide rims and are mostly undecorated. Most of the hajiki were found in tombs. Some of the items are thought to have been made for the deceased to use in the afterworld.

Jōmon shiki doki (縄文式土) refers to pottery made in the Jōmon Period (14,000 B.C. to 300 B.C.). Jōmon Pottery is characterized by small pots with indented lines and rounded bottoms. The lines were formed by pressing cords around the vessel before the pot was baked. Unlike the other items discussed above, Jōmon pottery were not made for burial, but for practical, every day use.

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  1. Ednar Andrade:

    The story of Japan’s ancient artifacts and these testify to this rich history and punctuated with wisdom.

    Congratulations on the blog.