The Yayoi Culture of Shikoku Island
: October 4, 2005 (Tue) - November 27, 2005 (Sun)
The present display mainly consists of objects from the collections of the Kagawa Prefectural Museum of History and Ehime Prefectural Education Commission, which were lent to the Tokyo National Museum as part of the 2005 exchange loan program of archaeological objects. Together with dotaku (bell-shaped bronze) from the Museum's collection, this display is meant to introduce the Yayoi culture of Shikoku Island.
The Yayoi period (4th century BC - 3rd century AD) saw the successful accomplishment of full-scale rice paddy production achieved. Traces of paddy fields, where rice is thought to have been cultivated, have been found in many places among the islands from Honshu through Kyushu. At the time, each region in Japan had its own culture. Different kinds of clay vessels for daily use were produced in the northern parts of Kyushu and Shikoku island, as well as the Kinki, San'in, Tokai and Kanto regions of Honshu island. However, these regions were not closed; there were cultural exchanges between them. Thus vessels with characteristics similar to those found in abundance in one area are sometimes found in a number of different places.
The culture of Shikoku Island in the western part of the Japanese archipelago also has unique characteristics in addition to common ones. Thin and broad swords, which are thought to have been produced in northern Shikoku were distributed widely throughout the Seto Inland Sea coastal regions both in Shikoku and Honshu. The Agata site in Ehime prefecture, which yielded the Yayoi clay vessels displayed here, is adjacent to the Agata shell mound, the standard site for the early Agata type vessels. Decorated with applied raised bands and sunken lines on the inside and outside of the rim, Agata type vessels show strong local characteristics. The wide mouth jar from the Kuko-atochi site in Kagawa prefecture has a peculiar shape that continued into the following Kofun period. They have been found mainly around Kagawa, with a few pieces in Seto Inland Sea coastal regions both in Shikoku and Honshu.