Haniwa Figure of a Female

Haniwa Figure of a Female

c. 500s

Japan, Kofun period

(c. AD 300-710)

Earthenware with traces of pigment

Overall: 58.4 x 30.5 cm (23 x 12 in.)

James Parmelee Fund by exchange 1962.39

Description

Figures in a variety of dress including military and ceremonial garb start to appear on Japanese earthen mounded tombs called old mounds (kofun) from the AD 400s to 500s. This fragment depicts a woman with red triangles on her face and wearing jewelry. Archaeologists speculate that the facial markings had a ritual or symbolic function, perhaps indicating she is a female shaman. Many figures of this kind have been found in digs in the Kanto region of eastern Japan. We can only guess at the meaning of the clay cylinders called haniwa.

See also
Collection: 
Japanese Art
Department: 
Japanese Art
Type of artwork: 
Sculpture

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