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16 Although this was a relatively stable time it was far from static: there was a lot of creative energy as demonstrated by the wide variety of doguthat developed over the period and the many styles that evolved in different regions. The visual timeline on pp. 18- 19 shows the range of doguand their evolution. Archaeologists and art historians have deployed a formidable battery of techniques in attempting to understand dogu. Thousands of pages have been expended on ideas about how they represent mother goddesses or earth mothers and other spirits and deities, and many more on refuting such notions. 2 As in the past, figurines still hold the power to help define people's identities and views of the world. In the first chapter, I trace the unearthing of dogufrom the early seventeenth century to the present and how we have developed frameworks to help understand them. We consider how to interpret and look at dogu, and explore themes, such as the significance of childbirth, masks, buried dogu­and­Jomon perceptions of the natural world. In chapter two, Doi Takashi looks at the origins of doguand traces the representation of the body in the Jomon archipelago, while in chapter three Harada Masayuki focuses on the rituals and spiritual aspects of dogu. This was a time when spirits were felt to be everywhere in an all- encompassing nature. Some archaeologists have turned to ethnographic records to illuminate the unfamiliar aspects of dogu, while others seek to understand them only through detailed examination of the house, burial or midden sites where they were found. These approaches, however, have had only limited success in Japan, where the majority of the 18,000 or so dogureported to date were found in no clear context. More recently, these ceramic figures have been approached in terms of how they are seen. Douglass Bailey has previously suggested that the appearance of ceramic figures represents a ' new way of seeing'; this is not just a scientific perspective, where figurines represent a ' truth' ( as a photograph was once thought to), but rather figurines that distort and create uncertainties that challenge. Bailey develops this theme in chapter four. 3 Although antiquarians and archaeologists had uncovered prehistoric materials, including dogu, from the seventeenth century onwards, it was not until the twentieth century, in particular the post- war period, that doguwere re- discovered and entered the wider arena, inspiring artists and the general public alike. The final essay in the book, by Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere, focuses on the lively significance of doguin popular culture today. Jomon doguexemplify one of the major creative traditions of the prehistoric world, and as such occupy an important place in the history of art. Modern viewers can appreciate these remarkable objects as works of art, and admire them for their aesthetics, design and technical skill, all achieved prior to the advent of agriculture, metallurgy or writing. Doguare not just good to look at; they invite questions about how Jomon people experienced the world, how they coped with the stresses and strains of their existence, and how they perceived their place in the cosmos. Dogu have the power to make us think. Detail of a figure from Arakoji, Fukushima prefecture ( cat. 61).

1415 Editor's Preface Simon Kaner Passengers at Kizukuri station in Aomori prefecture, in the far north of Honshu, the main island of the Japanese archipelago, find themselves under the watchful gaze of a massive replica of a 2,000- year- old ceramic figure dug up at nearby Kamegaoka ( fig. 1). World leaders attended the G8 summit in Hokkaido in 2008 under the eye of the only designated National Treasure from the northernmost island, Hokkaido, the betrousered and tattooed dogufrom Chobonaino ( cat. 1). Summer crowds making their way to the mountain uplands of central Nagano pass through the much-signposted ' Great Jomoncountry', encountering replicas and representations, large and small, of the great ceramic ' Venus' from Tanabatake ( cat. 3). Young and old around the world play video games and enjoy cartoon films and books, anime and manga, featuring outlandish characters based on Jomon dogu­( see also pp. 79 - 83). Jomon literally means ' cord marked' and refers to the distinctive decoration on ceramics, made by pressing twisted plant fibres into the surface of the clay prior to firing. It is now used to define the period from when the first pottery vessels were made on the Japanese archipelago, around 14,000 years ago, to something over 2,000 years ago, when rice agriculture and metallurgy arrived from the East Asian continent. 1Doguis the Japanese term for ceramic figures made during the Jomon period. The Chinese characters for dogumean ' earth' and ' spirit'. Comparable objects defined by Douglass Bailey as ' durable three- dimensional miniature anthropomorphic representations' were produced in various parts of the prehistoric world: the Near East, North Africa, Europe and the Americas. And yet they are not found everywhere, and only in much smaller numbers in other parts of East Asia, notably China or the Korean Peninsula. The map on pp. 22- 3 shows where dogu­existed across the world. Since they were first reported in archaeological publications, these objects have been a source of fascination and controversy, and remain so. They appeal partly because they are an expression of self- awareness by the people who made them. Such reflexivity is a unique and defining human characteristic. And yet these figures are full of ambiguity: we want to understand them, we want to know what their makers intended by them, but easy interpretation evades us because they are more than they first seem - they are powerful images that transcend simple representations of humans and animals. According to many commentators the Jomon was a time when people lived in rich forest environments, overflowing with abundant food, apparently in harmony with each other and with their surroundings. Nowhere else in the world did human beings manage to support such apparently high population densities prior to the advent of farming. The Jomon people were foragers who sustained a seeming continuity of lifestyle that extended from the end of the Ice Age to the dawn of the Christian era in the West. The distribution of sites where doguhave been found across the eastern archipelago gives some idea of how widespread were the Jomon people ( see the map on pp. 20- 21). The Jomon phenomenon came to an end with the advent of rice cultivation and arrival of metal working. The Jomon period is usually divided into six sub- periods: Incipient, Initial, Early, Middle, Late and Final. This book and the exhibition it accompanies focuses on the Middle sub- period onwards when the production of Jomon dogu­flourished. Fig. 1 A massive replica of the iconic Final Jomon goggle- eyed figure at Kizukuri railway station, Aomori prefecture, near the site of Kamegaoka. Detail of goggle- eyed dogufrom Kamegaoka, Aomori prefecture ( cat. 29).