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Haniwa Figure of a Female

c. 500s
(c. 300–538 CE)
Overall: 58.4 x 30.5 cm (23 x 12 in.)
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Location: 235B Japanese

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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.
Haniwa Figure of a Female

Haniwa Figure of a Female

c. 500s

Japan, Kofun period (c. 300–538 CE)

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