Heiseikan Japanese Archaeology Gallery
January 2, 2018 (Tue) - March 4, 2018 (Sun)
Around the estuary of the Kinokawa river in Wakayama city lie the Iwase Senzuka tumuli, which were constructed between the 4th and 7th centuries. Containing about 850 separate tumuli within three square kilometers – an unparalleled number in Japan – this area received the national designation of Special Historic Site.
The Dainichiyama No. 35 tumulus, which dates from the first half of the 6th century, sits atop Mount Dainichi on the western edge of this area. Measuring 105 meters in length, it is the largest keyhole-shaped tumulus in Wakayama prefecture. Terracotta sculptures known as haniwa were excavated in good states of preservation from the platform-like mounds on the eastern and western sides of this tumulus. Although some of these haniwa are similar to those excavated from the tumuli of kings in the Kansai area, others appear to be entirely unique, including ones shaped like birds spreading their wings, quivers that would have been worn at the hip, and a human figure with two faces.
Moreover, in the Kofun period (3th–7th century) the estuary of the Kinokawa river formed a natural harbor, which contributed to this area’s reputation for having deepened exchange with the Korean peninsula. This exchange is also illustrated by other objects excavated from the tumuli, such as the Korean pottery vessels and blacksmithing tools from the Dainichiyama No. 70 tumulus.
This thematic exhibition was made possible through the Program for the Reciprocal Exchange of Archaeological Artifacts (2017) organized by the Agency for Cultural Affairs. The majority of the objects on display are from the collection of the Wakayama Prefectural Kii-fudoki-no-oka Museum of Archaeology and Folklore.