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Large Burial Mounds and the Increase in Metal Production

"Large Burial Mounds and the Increase in Metal Production"

Heiseikan Japanese Archaeology Gallery  November 30, 2021 (Tue) - June 12, 2022 (Sun)

Visored Gilt-Bronze Helmet, Found at Ōtsukayama Tumulus, Chiba, Kofun period, 5th century

Around the end of the 4th century, large keyhole-shaped burial mounds began to appear around the Osaka plain and Nara basin. Royal authority was expressed through burial practices, with grand arrangements of haniwa tomb figurines displayed on these mounds. Central to these arrangements were house-shaped haniwa as well as those representing tools, weapons, and other objects. Moreover, the number of small- and medium-sized burial mounds containing metal weapons and armor began to increase, suggesting that connections between the Yamato Kingdom and provincial clans became more militaristic, and that these connections began to extend to lesser clans as well. Metal production also increased significantly as shown by the large amount of ingots placed in burial mounds.

Chinese records state that from 421, the Five Kings of Wa (Japan) regularly offered tribute to the Southern Dynasties and requested that their military titles in Japan and Korea be recognized in China. The mass-production of metal weapons and armor further suggests the inclusion of Yamato in an international order centered on China.

Major Work(s) on Exhibit 5 results
Designation Name Amount Creation Excavation Period Acquisition Ownership Comment
Highlight Visored Gilt-Bronze Helmet Found at Ōtsukayama Tumulus, Chiba Kofun period, 5th century J-728
Pot with an Opening for Pouring: "Sue" Stoneware Found at Ōtsukayama Tumulus, Chiba Kofun period, 5th century Gift of Mr. Hasegawa Akira, J-38337
Highlight Important Cultural Property Iron Shield Passed down at Isonokami Jingū Shrine, Nara Kofun period, 5th century Lent by Isonokami Jingū Shrine, Nara
Short Cuirass, Vertical iron bands joined with leather Excavated from Omaruyama Kofun, Koaza Higashiyama, Shimomukoyama-cho, Kofu-shi, Yamanashi Kofun period, 4th century J-20491
Highlight Iron Stick with an End in the Shape of a Chisel Blade Found at Jūnitenzuka Tumulus, Tochigi Kofun period, 5th–6th century Gift of Mr. Ishikawa Michinosuke, J-6919