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  • Image of "Jomon VenusMid-Jomon (3000-2000 B.C.)Tanabatake site, Nagano prefectureNational TreasureChino City Board of Education, Nagano"

    Jomon Venus
    Mid-Jomon (3000-2000 B.C.)
    Tanabatake site, Nagano prefecture
    National Treasure
    Chino City Board of Education, Nagano

    Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room T5
    December 15, 2009 (Tue) - February 21, 2010 (Sun)

    >> detailed information
    This is one of a series of overseas exhibitions organized by the Agency of Cultural Affairs which is being shown domestically on the occasion of its return. This exhibition (held at the British Museum, UK; Thursday, September 10 - Sunday, November 22, 2009) showcases dogu clay figurines, which are known as representations of the spiritual world and the belief of Japan's ancient Jomon people. This is a rare opportunity to see the most important works of this genre, including three National Treasures.

 General Information
Period Tuesday, December 15, 2009 - Sunday, February 21, 2010
Venue Room T5, Honkan, Tokyo National Museum (Ueno Park)
Hours 9:30 - 17:00 (Last entry 30 minutes before closing)
Closed Mondays (except for Monday, January 11) (Closed on Tuesday, January 12)
* Monday, December 28, 2009 - Friday, January 1, 2010
Admissions Adults: 800 (700) yen
University students: 600 (500) yen
High school students: 400 (300) yen
Junior high school students and under: Free
* Price shown in ( ) indicates advance and group (more than 20 persons) discount tickets.
* Persons with physical or mental disabilities receive free entry together with one accompanying guest each
* Advance tickets are on sale at the Museum ticket office (during museum hours) and e-Ticket Pia (P-code:688-843), Lawson Ticket (L-code:38841), E-Plus and other major ticket offices, until Monday, December 14, 2009.
Access 10 minutes' walk from JR Ueno Station (Park exit) and Uguisudani Station
15 minutes' walk from Keisei Ueno Station, Tokyo Metro Ueno Station and Tokyo Metro Nezu Station
Organizer Agency of Cultural Affairs, Tokyo National Museum, NHK, NHK Promotions, The Mainichi Newspapers
With Sponsorship of Nissha Printing Co., Ltd
General Inquiries 03-5405-8686 (Hello Dial)
 Related events (In Japanese)
Commemorative lecture (application required)
"The Birth and Development of Jomon Dogu Figures, and the Appeal of their Unique Forms"
  Saturday, February 6, 2010, 13:30 - 15:00, Auditorium, Heiseikan
Lecture by: Harada Masayuki, Senior Specialist(Archaeology) Fine Arts Division, Ageicy for Curtural Affairs
Gallery Talk
  "The Power of Dogu"
Thursday, December 17, 2009, 15:30, Room 20, Honkan
Lecture by: Inoue Yoichi, Senior Curator of Japanese Archaeology

"Dogu Figures and Jomon Clay Masks"
Thursday, January 21, 2010, 15:30, Room 20, Honkan
Lecture by: Shinagawa Yoshiya, Assistant Curator of Japanese Archaeology

"The Decline of Dogu and Beyond"
Thursday, February 4, 2010, 15:30, Room 20, Honkan
Lecture by: Hidaka Shin, Curator of Japanese Archaeology
 Highlight of the Exhibition
A Rare Chance to See All Three National Treasure - Designated Dogu
Approximately 18,000 dogu have been discovered so far, out of which only three have been designated as national treasures. This exhibition marks the first time for the three national treasure dogu to be displayed all at once.
The strong personality of these dogu ranks them at the top of their genre, expressing Jomon people's spirituality and their powerful sense of form and aesthetics.
Hollow Dogu   Hollow Dogu
Late Jomon period (2000-1000 BC)
Chobonaino site, Hakodate-shi, Hokkaido
National treasure
Hakodate City Board of Education, Hokkaido
Dogu with Palms Together   Dogu with Palms Together
Late Jomon period (2000-1000 BC)
Kazahari site 1, Hachinohe-shi, Aomori
National treasure
Hachinohe City, Aomori
Jomon Venus   Jomon Venus
Middle Jomon period (3000-2000 BC)
Tanabatake site, Chino-shi, Nagano
National Treasure
Chino City Board of Education, Nagano
The Shape of DOGU
Cruciform Dogu   Standing Dogu   Dogu
Cruciform Dogu
Middle Jomon period (3000-2000 BC)
Sannai Maruyama site, Aomori-shi, Aomori
Important Cultural Property
Cultural Property Preservation Division, Aomori Prefectural Goverment
  Standing Dogu
Middle Jomon period (3000-2000 BC)
Nishinomae site, Funagata-machi, Yamagata
Important Cultural Property
Yamagata Prefectural Board of Education
Middle Jomon period (3000-2000 BC)
Kamikurokoma, Fuefuki-shi, Yamanashi
Tokyo National Museum
Dogu with Heart-Shaped Face   Masked Dogu   Dogu with Goggles
Dogu with Heart-Shaped Face
Late Jomon period (2000-1000 BC)
Gohara, Higashi Agatsuma-machi, Gunma
Important Cultural Property
Private Collection
  Masked Dogu
Late Jomon period (2000-1000 BC)
Nakappara site, Chino-shi, Nagano
Important Cultural Property
Chino City Board of Education, Nagano
  Dogu with Goggles
Final Jomon period (1000-400 BC)
Kamegaoka site, Tsugaru-shi, Aomori
Important Cultural Property
Tokyo National Museum
Clay and Stone Objects Associated with Dogu
Head of Dogu   Head of Dogu
Late Jomon period (2000-1000 BC)
Shidanai site, Morioka-shi, Iwate
Important Cultural Property
Agency for Cultural Affairs
Clay Figure of Wild Boar   Clay Figure of Wild Boar
Late Jomon period (2000-1000 BC)
Tokoshinai site, Hirosaki-shi, Aomori
Hirosaki City Museum
What are Dogu?

Dogu are ceramic figures made out of clay. During the New Stone Age period (8300-5000 B.C.) dogu were closely related with agriculture and developed as figures of an earth mother deity who was worshipped in prayer for rich harvests, production and fertility.
Japanese dogu appeared in the early days of the Jomon period (about 13,000 years ago) and developed most rapidly between the mid-Jomon period (3000-2000BC) and the final-phase Jomon period (1000-400 B.C.), during which many dogu with unique characteristics were created. The Jomon period economy was a hunter-gatherer economy and therefore Japanese dogu have different features to ancient European or West Asian ritual figures.
What was the purpose of dogu and how were they used? There are many theories about Jomon dogu.
The figures' large breasts and hips represent the concept of reproduction and creation rooted in the mystery of human birth. They can also be understood to represent the wish for safe delivery of newborns. There is also a theory that dogu are a dynamic representation of rich hunter's bounty.
On the other hand, as most dogu are found destroyed it is also said that dogu were used as avatars for curing disease and injury.