Haniwa

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Definition

Haniwa are the unglazed terracotta rings, cylinders, and figures of people, animals, and houses which were deposited at Japanese tombs during the Kofun and Asuka Periods (c. 250-710 CE). The exact purpose of these offerings is not known, although it seems likely they were examples of conspicuous consumption of the societal elite or performed some protective function. Many haniwa are particularly detailed in their execution and thus provide a valuable insight into the culture of the period. Standing over one metre in height, the mysterious figures are a striking example of early Japanese sculpture.

More about: Haniwa

Timeline

  • c. 300 CE - c. 700 CE
    Haniwa terracotta figurines are placed outside Japanese mound tombs or kofun.
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