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Political Maturation and the Creation of Symbols of Authority

" Political Maturation and the Creation of Symbols of Authority"

Heiseikan Japanese Archaeology Gallery  November 30, 2021 (Tue) - June 5, 2022 (Sun)

  
Bronze Mirror with Three Bands of Deities and Immortals
Found at Maebashi Tenjin'yama Tumulus, Gunma, Kofun period, 4th century; created in China, 2nd–3rd century (Important Cultural Property)

Around the end of the Yayoi period in the first half of the 3rd century, large burial mounds with regionally-distinct shapes began to appear in various areas from Kanto to Kyushu. Villages in Japan were changing to states, with some gaining the power to unify others. A Chinese historical document even noted that in 239 and 240, Queen Himiko, the ruler of Japan’s Yamatai Kingdom, sent envoys to the Wei dynasty.

During the latter half of the 3rd century, keyhole-shaped burial mounds of unprecedented size and construction began to appear in the Kinai region, with the largest concentration in the Nara basin. Objects symbolizing political authority, such as bronze mirrors and ornaments, accompanied those buried inside. These developments show that politics in Japan had matured under the new Yamato Kingdom, which was even more powerful than Yamatai. These burial mounds were constructed on a wide scale until the 7th century, giving this era the name Kofun (ancient burial mound) period.

The pottery of the Kofun period was haji earthenware. Unlike earlier Yayoi pottery, it was uniform in design and did not feature regionally-distinct decorative patterns. This section explores the beginning of the Kofun period through haji pottery and bronze mirrors that were brought from China and placed in burial mounds.

Major Work(s) on Exhibit 4 results
Designation Name Amount Creation Excavation Period Acquisition Ownership Comment
Highlight Important Cultural Property Bronze Mirror with Three Bands of Deities and Immortals Found at Maebashi Tenjin'yama Tumulus, Gunma Kofun period, 4th century; created in China, 2nd–3rd century J-38398-2
Highlight Double-Rimmed Jar Found at Shōnai Site, Osaka Kofun period, 3rd century Gift of Mr. Hashimoto Sotaro, J-23884
Highlight Important Cultural Property Mirror with Triangular Rim, Divinities and animals design Excavated at Maebashi Tenjin'yama Tumulus, Maebashi-shi, Gunma Kofun period, 4th century J-38398-1b
Highlight Important Cultural Property Mirror with Triangular Rim, Design of Dragon and Tiger Found at Izumikoganezuka Tumulus, Osaka Kofun period, 4th-5th century J-36931-23