Seminar - Jomon Dogu: the mystery and the magic


Izumi Braddick (Archaelogy, Japanese and Asian Studies College of Asia and the Pacific and College of Arts and Social Sciences, ANU).


The ancient Jomon were a hunter-gatherer society who inhabited the islands of Japan for more than 13,000 years (approx. 14,000-300 BC).  Best known for their exquisitely decorated pottery - perhaps the world's oldest - they possessed a rich spirictual culture.  The Jomon people's supernatural beliefs were expressed in a variety of forms made from a range of materials including not only clay, but also stone, bone, antler, and shell.  In this presentation however, I will focus on dogu (clay figurines); probably the most iconic representations of the Jomon animistic value system.  Numerous examples have been unearthed across the Japanese archipelago allowing us to see how dogu forms evolved over time.

Although their precise meaning remains elusive, in this talk I will discuss some competing theories concerning the functions of dogu.  That most dogu seem to have been deliberately broken, and nearly all appear to have taken female for4m reveals something significant about their purpose.  Finally, dogu and other Jomon spiritual objects appear from the archaelogical record with the arrive of the Yayoi people around 300 BC, who brought rice agriculture, metallurgy and a new belief system from the Asian continent via the Korean peninsula.


The presentation will be conducted in Japanese.



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