- Museum number
Cylindrical clay figure in the shape of a woman (mikogata haniwa), standing with left arm pointing down and right arm up, wearing a beaded necklace and elaborate hairstyle; body surface showing fine vertically incised lines; on pedestal with a round perforation on front side; partially restored. Made of low-fired red earthenware.
- Production date
Height: 55 centimetres
Width: 31 centimetres
Depth: 19 centimetres
- Curator's comments
"Haniwa" in the form of a dancing girl
Kofun period, 6th century
Low-fired red pottery.
The mounds of the Kofun, which varied from some ten metres or so across up to several hundred metres in length, were marked by rows of earthenware "haniwa" along the contours. The "haniwa" were either hollow cylinders, or sculptures of houses, boats, animals, utilitarian objects, or people, and could be up to a metre and a half high. They were planted in the ground on cylindrical bases to stand above the surface. The earliest simple cylindrical "haniwa" planted close together defined terraces, and could number as many as two thousand on a single mound. Towards the end of the Kofun period sculptures including humans, like this dancing girl, arranged in groups replaced the cylinders. The ritual function of the later "haniwa" appears to have been to guard and provide services for the occupant of the tomb. According to the Nihon Shoki (720AD), the "haniwa" replaced human sacrifices, but there is no evidence that the practice existed in Japan. The figure has her hair tied up in an elaborate coiffure and wears a necklace of beads. The object was excavated in Saitama Prefecture in the 1880s. (Label copy, VH, 1999)
Smith et al 1990
The figure has her hair tied up into an elaborate coiffure and wears a necklace of beads. The object was excavated in the neighborhood of the village of Motomachi near the port town of Konjo in Musashi Province.
- On display (North Stairs)
- Exhibition history
Displayed in the Asiatic Saloon from 1894, see 'A Guide to the Exhibition Galleries of the British Museum (Bloomsbury)', 1894, p. 202.
1997 13 Oct-1998 5 Jan, India, New Delhi, National Museum, The Enduring Image
1998 9 Feb-3 May, India, Mumbai, Sir Caswasjee Jahangir Hall, The Enduring Image
2006 Oct 13-, BM Japanese Galleries, 'Japan from prehistory to the present'
- Acquisition date
- 1889 (15 April)
- Registration number