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Jomon Terracotta Figurine Designated a National Treasure

Jaimee Uhlenbrock

Abstract

In Japan, great reverence is paid to significant cultural forms of expression, such as important works of art or architecture. They are awarded the title of kokuhō, or National Treasure, by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, an office of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology.

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1Four terracotta figurines, or dogū, of the middle or late Jomon period have received this designation, the latest being the so-called Masked Goddess of ca. 2000 to 1000 B.C.E. (Fig. 1). This hollow figurine was discovered on August 23, 2000, during archaeological exploration of the Nakappara site in the Kohigashi district of Chino City, and it was officially declared a National Treasure on August 21, 2014.

2While at least some 18,000 dogū are known in Japan, most were recovered from rubbish heaps and were extensively broken. By contrast, the 34-centimeter Masked Goddess was brought to light in a burial pit in several large fragments that had been carefully assembled and placed inside its hollow body. It is believed that this reflects an act of ritual breakage. Only nine other dogū have been brought to light from funerary contexts and all underwent minimal breakage, unlike the condition of most of the dogū from rubbish heaps.

Fig. 1. Dogu from Nakappara site, Nagano Prefecture, Jomon period, 2000 BC - 1000 BC (Togariishi Museum of Jomon Archeology, Chino city, Nagano)

Fig. 1. Dogu from Nakappara site, Nagano Prefecture, Jomon period, 2000 BC - 1000 BC (Togariishi Museum of Jomon Archeology, Chino city, Nagano)

Photo: Japan Realtime, Aug 22, 2014: Arts and Culture.

3For more on dogū see CSIG News, Winter 2011, p. 9 for the exhibition The Power of Dogū: Ceramic Figurines from Ancient Japan.

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List of illustrations

Title Fig. 1. Dogu from Nakappara site, Nagano Prefecture, Jomon period, 2000 BC - 1000 BC (Togariishi Museum of Jomon Archeology, Chino city, Nagano)
Credits Photo: Japan Realtime, Aug 22, 2014: Arts and Culture.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/acost/docannexe/image/632/img-1.jpg
File image/jpeg, 76k
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References

Electronic reference

Jaimee Uhlenbrock, « Jomon Terracotta Figurine Designated a National Treasure  », Les Carnets de l’ACoSt [Online], 13 | 2015, Online since 01 September 2015, connection on 16 December 2017. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/acost/632

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About the author

Jaimee Uhlenbrock

Department of Art History, State University of New York, New Paltz

By this author

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Copyright

Licence Creative Commons
Les Carnets de l'ACoSt est mis à disposition selon les termes de la licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

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