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).
182500 BCMiddleJomon ChubuKantoTohokuHokkaido The earliest representations of the human form in the Japanese archipelago are the small incised stones from Kamikuroiwa in Ehime prefecture, dating to around 13,000 years ago. Ceramic figures appear in very small numbers at around the same time, but it is during the Initial and Early Jomon that their numbers increase. The largest proportion of dogucome from the eastern part of the largest island in the archipelago, Honshu, where a series of distinct Jomon subcultures flourished in the central highlands of Chubu, the Kantocoastal plain, the northeast region of Tohoku and in the northernmost of the four main islands, Hokkaido. The greatest number of dogu date from the Middle to Final Jomon; they were particularly varied in form and elaborately decorated. The book and this timeline focus on the eastern part of the archipelago from around 2500 BC to the end of the Jomon period, when dogumaking was at its height. Middle Jomon( 2500 - 1500 BC) . A number of innovations occur in the manufacture of clay figures. . Free- standing doguare found on the Japan Sea coast of Honshu and much more attention is paid to facial features, absent from most earlier figures. In northern Honshu faceless free- standing doguand cruciform figures with facial features are made. . Some figures are modelled in specific poses, for instance holding pottery jars. The bodies of many figures bear ornate designs, with certain motifs, notably coiled snakes, taking on a special significance in central Honshu. . Towards the end of the Middle Jomon, hollow figures appear, but the numbers of dogumade in general sees a marked decline. LateJomon( 1500- 1000 BC) . Climatic cooling leads to changing settlement patterns and a population shift towards the lowlands and coasts. . New forms of ceramic figures appear including doguwith heart- shaped faces, doguwith triangular heads, doguwith cylindrical bodies, and squatting and ' praying' dogu. In the north of Honshu slab- form doguare made with short legs and triangular bodies. . Ceramic masks begin to be made, along with masked dogu. There is a move towards heightened abstraction and some very large figures are made. . From the middle of the Late Jomon, certain sites produce large quantities of dogu, and doguappear in larger numbers in western Japan. FinalJomon( 1000- 300 BC) . The influence of the Kamegaoka- style zone of northern Honshu is seen across eastern Honshu, with burnished and lacquered figures often decorated with zoned cord- marking in the goggle- eyed tradition. . Horned doguappear in the Kantoregion. . Many smaller, plainer doguare also made, some with an ' X'- shape. . As rice agriculture appears in Kyushu, large numbers of doguare made in some parts of western Japan, perhaps as a form of Jomon resistance to the new culture. Visual timeline of the evolution of dogu Cat. 10 Cat. 12 Cat. 52 Cat. 3