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Ancient Art | Ca. 11,000 BC–7th century AD

"Ancient Art | Ca. 11,000 BC–7th century AD"

Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room 1  July 7, 2020 (Tue) - December 20, 2020 (Sun)

Clay Figurine ("Dogū") with an Owl-Like Face, Found at Shinpukuji Shell Mound, Saitama, Jōmon period, 2,000–1,000 BC (Important Cultural Property)

Japan has some of the earliest pottery in the world, dating back about 13,000 years. It was created by the people of the Jōmon period (ca. 11,000–400 BC). These people built permanent settlements and relied on hunting, fishing, and gathering.

At the height of their culture, they made pottery with richly sculpted forms and figurines with distinctive shapes.

In the Yayoi period (ca. 4th century BC–first half of 3rd century AD), people from Northeast Asia (now China and Korea) immigrated to Japan. They brought knowledge of how to farm rice and make objects with bronze and iron. More food became available and people started making tools, weapons, and ritual objects with metal.

In the Kofun period (ca. second half of 3rd–7th century), regional rulers seized power and resources. They formed an early state and the imperial line became its central authority. These rulers had giant tomb mounds built for themselves, with clay sculptures placed outside and valuable objects buried inside to express the rulers’ authority even after death.

Major Work(s) on Exhibit 4 results
Designation Name Amount Creation Excavation Period Acquisition Ownership Comment
_MD_RECOMMEND Tomb Sculptures ("Haniwa"): Dancing People Found at Nohara Tumulus, Saitama Kofun period, 6th century J-21428, J-21429
_MD_RECOMMEND Bronze Bell ("Dōtaku") Found in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Yayoi period, 1st–3rd century J-5715
_MD_RECOMMEND Important Cultural Property Clay Figurine ("Dogū") with an Owl-Like Face Found at Shinpukuji Shell Mound, Saitama Jōmon period, 2,000–1,000 BC J-39223
_MD_EXPLANATION Important Cultural Property Footed Jar Found at Atsuta Shell Mound, Aichi Yayoi period, 1st–3rd century Gift of Mr. Tokugawa Yorisada J-11614
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