24 Encountering Dogu Simon Kaner It is in the northern extremities of Honshu that the story of the discovery of dogu begins. While the Tokugawa Shogunate was getting into its stride in the early seventeenth century, strange objects were being recovered and recorded at Kamegaoka, or the Hill of Jars, in the fields of the Tsugaru Peninsula. A diary from northern Honshu, the Eiroku nikki( 1623), describes the finding of a ceramic body. Such finds were not unique, and the pace of discovery picked up during the latter part of the Edo period ( 1615- 1868), when amateur antiquarians developed a passion for collecting these odd relics of an ancient past, which they usually considered hangovers from the Age of the Gods. 1 But it was not until the end of the Shogunate, and the restoration of imperial rule in 1868, that a new understanding of the archipelago's ancient past developed. Back in the Edo period, a number of scholar- travellers journeyed around Japan recording local customs and curiosities. One of these was Sugae Masumi ( 1754- 1829), who travelled extensively through northern Japan, describing pottery vessels from the region now comprising the prefectures of Akita and Aomori. He assigned these objects to the Emishi, the legendary aboriginal occupants of the archipelago, considered to be forebears of the Ainu. 2 He also described a ' clay face' from Sumikanoyama and another from Akita. He used ancient chronicles as his point of reference for the past, the Nihon shoki ( Chronicle of Japan, AD 720) and Kojiki ( Records of ancient matters, AD 712), which refer to haniwaor terracotta figures, set up around the tombs of the early rulers of Japan ( third- sixth century AD). 3 Another explorer, Murakami Shimanojo, left a detailed account of dogu found near Hakodate ( fig. 2). He describes a ' god body', dug up at Fushikokotan hill, which was female in form with long hair and dots around the eyes and mouth- like tattoos. He also refers to dolls, played with by Ainu girls who dressed these figures in skins. They seemingly had another role and were sometimes placed in graves as substitutes for deceased spouses. Back in the urban centres of Edo Japan - Edo ( now Tokyo) itself, Kyoto and Osaka - dilettanti gathered to show off the old books and antiquities they had collected. An account left by one of these groups, entitled the Tanki manroku and published in the fifth month 1824, contained an ink painting of what was described in the caption as ' two dogufrom Kamegaoka'. To the modern archaeologist's eye, these images look like the front and back view of an early Final Jomon goggle- eyed figure with its large, horizontally slit eyes ( fig. 3). Other doguappeared in different Edo- period illustrated books, including one from Aizu ( modern- day Fukushima) described as having been discovered in 1815 and illustrated from different angles, front, back and sides. Once again, what we now recognize as a middle Final Jomon doguis here described, anachronistically, as a haniwa. 4 As part of the move towards ' civilization' and ' enlightenment', the authorities in the Meiji period ( 1868- 1912) invited foreign specialists to come to Japan to help forge a new, modern nation state. Among these was Edward Sylvester Morse ( 1838- 1925), an American zoologist, who in 1877 undertook the Fig. 2 An early record of a dogufrom the Ezoshima kikanof 1800, an account of discoveries in Ezo ( Hokkaido) by Murakami Shimanojo.
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