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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  January 2, 2022 (Sun) - July 3, 2022 (Sun)

Tomb Sculpture (Haniwa): Monkey (detail), Reportedly found at Dainichizuka Tumulus, Ibaraki, Kofun period, 6th century (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 5 results
Designation Name Amount Creation Excavation Period Acquisition Ownership Comment
Tomb Sculptures ("Haniwa"): Dancing People Found at Nohara Tumulus, Saitama Kofun period, 6th century J-21428, 21429
Highlight Important Cultural Property Tomb Sculpture ("Haniwa"): Monkey Reportedly found at Dainichizuka Tumulus, Ibaraki Kofun period, 6th century J-39103
Highlight Important Cultural Property Jar with Figures Found in Hirosaki City, Aomori Jōmon period, 2000–1000 BC J-36811
Important Cultural Property Jar Found in Nagoya City, Aichi Yayoi period, 1st–3rd century Gift of Mr. Tokugawa Yorisada, J-11694
Important Cultural Property Footed Long-Necked Jar Found at Kaniana Tumulus, Mie Kofun period, 7th century Gift of Mr. Kawahara Shōzō, J-9535