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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site

 

The power of dogu:
ceramic figures from ancient Japan

10 September – 22 November 2009
Free

Exhibition closed

Room 91

Sponsored by Mitsubishi Corporation
Co-organised with Agency for Cultural Affairs
In collaboration with Tokyo National Museum
A Japan-UK 150 Event

This exhibition highlights the beauty and power of remarkable ceramic figures known as dogu, mysterious masterpieces that were produced in great numbers in prehistoric Japan.

Dogu are from the earliest-dated tradition of pottery manufacture in the world, dating to the prehistoric Jomon period, which began 16,000 years ago. Most of the figures in the exhibition are from about 2500 BC to 1000 BC (the Middle and Late Jomon periods) and show the development of the sculptural form over time.

Many of the objects on display are designated Japanese National Treasures or Important Cultural Properties and all are on loan from public and private collections in Japan. Most have never been seen outside Japan before.

The exhibition will also explain the origins, development and disappearance of dogu, and demonstrate how they shed light on the archaeology of prehistoric Japan.

Masked dogū
  • 1

    Masked dogū from Nakappara, Nagano prefecture, Japan. 1500–1000 BC. On loan from the Chino City Board of Education. Designated 'Important Cultural Property' by the Japanese Government.

  • 2

    Dogū with palms pressed together, Kazahari I, Aomori prefecture, Japan. 1500–1000 BC. On loan from Hachinohe City. Designated a National Treasure in 2009 by the Japanese Government.
    Photograph © Ogawa Tadahiro.

  • 3

    Slab-shaped cruciform dogū. Sannai Maruyama, Aomori prefecture, Japan. 2500–1500 BC. On loan from Aomori Prefectural Board of Education. Designated 'Important Cultural Property' by the Japanese Government.

  • 4

    Goggle-eyed dogū. Kamegaoka, Aomori prefecture, Japan. 1000–300 BC. On loan from Tokyo National Museum. Designated 'Important Cultural Property' by the Japanese Government.

  • 5

    Deep earthenware vessel with face-shaped handle. Kaido, Nagano prefecture, Japan. 2500–1500 BC. On loan from Okaya City Board of Education. Designated 'Important Cultural Property' by the Japanese Government.

  • 6

    Animal-faced dogū. Kamikurokoma, Yamanashi prefecture, Japan. 2500–1500 BC. On loan from Tokyo National Museum.

  • 7

    Hollow clay figure. Chobonaino, Hokkaido, Japan. 1500–1000 BC.On loan from the Hakodate City Board of Education. Designated a National Treasure in 2007 by the Japanese Government.

  • 8

    Tanabatake ‘Venus’. Tanabatake, Nagano prefecture, Japan. 2500–1500 BC. On loan from the Chino City Board of Education. Designated a National Treasure in 1995 by the Japanese Government.

Masked dogū from Nakappara, Nagano prefecture, Japan. 1500–1000 BC. On loan from the Chino City Board of Education. Designated 'Important Cultural Property' by the Japanese Government.