Japanese Prehistoric art

Japanese prehistoric art is a wide-ranging category, spanning the Jōmon (c. 10,000 BCE - 350 BCE [The Jōmon people were largely displaced by (or gave way to, becoming)the Yayoi people around 300 BCE, and later the Yamato polity in the center of Honshū and further south and west, those scholars who equate the Jōmon people with the Ainu and other native groups of the north (Tōhoku) and Hokkaidō state that it lasted much longer. The natives of Tōhoku were largely displaced in the 10th-11th centuries CE. (Frederic, Louis (2002). "Jōmon-jidai." Japan Encyclopedia. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.)] ) and Yayoi periods (c. 350 BCE-250 CE), and the entire Japanese archipelago, including Hokkaidō in the north, and the Ryukyu Islands in the south which were politically not part of Japan until the late 19th century.

Much about these two periods remains unknown, and debates continue among scholars regarding the nature of the cultures and societies of the period, their number and the extent to which they can be considered to be united, uniform cultures across the archipelago, and across time.

Jōmon art

The Jōmon people are generally said to have been the first settlers of Japan. Nomadic hunter-gatherers who later practice organized farming and built cities, the Jōmon people are named for the "cord-markings", impressions made with rope, found as decorations on pottery of this time, a term which was first applied to the pottery, and the culture, by American Edward Sylvester Morse. Jōmon pottery is said by many scholars to be the oldest yet discovered in the world.Fact|date=April 2007

The Jōmon communities consisted of hundreds or even thousands of people, who dwelt in simple houses of wood and thatch set into shallow earthen pits to provide warmth from the soil. They crafted lavishly decorated pottery storage vessels, clay figurines called "dogū", and crystal jewels.

The oldest examples of Jōmon pottery have flat bottoms, though pointed bottoms (meant to be held in small pits in the earth, like an amphora) became common later. [Frederic. "Jōmon-shikidoki."] In the Middle Jōmon period (3000-2000 BCE), simple decorations made with cord or through scratching gave way to highly elaborate designs. So-called flame vessels, along with the closely related crown-formed vessels, are among the most distinctive forms from this period; representative forms such as clay figurines of people and animals also appeared around this time. These figurines, called "dogū", are often described as "google-eyed", and feature elaborate geometrical designs, and short, stubby limbs. They are generally believed to have borne a religious or ritual significance.

Yayoi art

The next wave of immigrants was the Yayoi people, named for the district in Tokyo where remnants of their settlements first were found. These people, arriving in Japan about 350 BCE, brought their knowledge of wetland rice cultivation, the manufacture of copper weapons and bronze bells ("dōtaku"), and wheel-thrown, kiln-fired ceramics. Along with introducing bronze casting and other technologies into the islands, the Yayoi people, who are generally believed to have come from the Korean peninsula, brought cultural influences from China and Korea.

Chinese expansion under the Qin (221-206 BCE) and Han (206 BCE-220 CE) Dynasties is said to have been one of the primary impetuses for migrations to the Japanese archipelago [Paine, Robert Treat and Alexander Soper. The Art and Architecture of Japan. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981. p275.] , which brought with it cultural influences and new technologies. Artifacts brought to the islands at this time had a powerful effect upon the development of Japanese art, by presenting objects to imitate and copy, such as bronze mirrors and swords in the Chinese and Korean styles. The Yayoi people brought Japan into the Iron Age around the 3rd century CE.

Yayoi period pottery tends to be smoother than that of Jōmon, and more frequently features decorations made with sticks or combs, rather than rope. ["Yayoi jidai." Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System. Accessed 24 April 2007. [http://www.aisf.or.jp/~jaanus/deta/y/yayoijidai.htm] ]

References and notes


"This article covers the art of the Jōmon and Yayoi periods of Japanese history."

Japanese art | Yamato period >


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Prehistoric art — Ceramic stirrup spout vessel representing a crustacean. Moche Culture, Peru, 100 BCE to 700 CE …   Wikipedia

  • Japanese art — covers a wide range of art styles and media, including ancient pottery, sculpture in wood and bronze, ink painting on silk and paper, and a myriad of other types of works of art. It also has a long history, ranging from the beginnings of human… …   Wikipedia

  • Japanese painting — is one of the oldest and most highly refined of the Japanese arts, encompassing a wide variety of genre and styles. As with the history of Japanese arts in general, the history Japanese painting is a long history of synthesis and competition… …   Wikipedia

  • Japanese people — 日本人 Lady Murasaki • Nobunaga …   Wikipedia

  • art conservation and restoration — Maintenance and preservation of works of art, their protection from future damage, deterioration, or neglect, and the repair or renovation of works that have deteriorated or been damaged. Research in art history has relied heavily on 20th and… …   Universalium

  • Japanese architecture — it has also developed many differences and aspects which are indigenous to Japan. Prehistoric period (Jomon, Yayoi, and prior cultures) There are no extant examples of prehistoric architecture, and the oldest Japanese texts, such as Kojiki and… …   Wikipedia

  • Japanese handicrafts — The many and varied traditional handicrafts of Japan enjoy official recognition and protection and, owing to the folk art movement, are much in demand. Some enjoy status as a meibutsu or regional specialty. Each craft demands a set of specialized …   Wikipedia

  • Art — This article is about the general concept of Art. For the categories of different artistic disciplines, see The arts. For the arts that are visual in nature, see Visual arts. For people named Art, see Arthur (disambiguation). For other uses, see… …   Wikipedia

  • Art of Oceania — Oceanic art refers to the creative works made by the native peoples of the Pacific Islands and Australia, including areas as far apart as Hawaii and Easter Island. Specifically it refers to the works of the two groups of people that settled the… …   Wikipedia

  • Prehistoric religion — History of religions founding figures Anthropology Comparative religion Development Neurotheology / God gene Origins Psychology Prehistoric Ancien …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.