Haniwa (埴輪)

Haniwa (埴輪)

‘From the late fourth century the leaders of the Yamato state in the area around Kyoto had established their dominance over other Japanese kingdoms. They are clearly the founders of the Japanese Imperial line. Their status is made clear in the size and splendour of their tombs – huge mounds or kofun (‘old mounds’), which give their name to the historical Kofun period (about third-seventh century AD). In the tombs, a huge earth mound covered a stone chamber in which the stone or wood coffin was placed. The mounds were often marked with circles of low-fired pottery cylinders, or representations of animals, people and objects such as houses. It is thought that this practice in Japan took the place of the ancient Chinese custom of burying servants and goods with the dead ruler.’

-Image and text copyright of; http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/asia/h/haniwa.aspx

The Haniwa are a fascinating Human creation, they are at once hollow and empty structures, but also strangely Human, sharing a sense of Longing, or empathy, not unseen in memorials of other cultures and times. They are very obviously utilised as a way of remembrance, and therefore a way to technically ‘cheat death’ through the concept of ‘leaving something behind’, and therefore ‘imprinting your own mark on the world’.

I have seen Haniwa that look far more simple and primitive than even these before. However I cannot find an image of them, which is incredibly annoying. I will have to search harder.

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