Fig. 17 The clay mask from Mamachi ( top: cat. 66) was probably a death mask originally attached to a grave marker, while the dogufrom Nakappara ( bottom: cat. 22) is shown wearing a mask. These masks show that Jomon people were aware of the possiblity of taking on a different personality. 34 Transformed spirits: the power of masks Jomon people, especially from the later Jomon period, also made clay masks, and some of the doguare depicted wearing clay masks too ( fig. 17). Some were apparently death masks, while others may have been used in ritual performances. Masks have been discovered in a variety of prehistoric contexts and across different cultures around the world, but they are generally used as tools of expression on special occasions - for festivals, exorcism, dance and drama. 21 They may have been used in Jomon thanksgiving activities, in which spirits, ancestors or the recently dead would be offered thanks to ensure plentiful harvests. Such performances were perhaps regarded as a means of harnessing, or projecting, the power of nature that was so important during the Jomon period and probably took place in specially designated spaces. Early Japanese masks were made from large seashells, with three pierced openings resembling the eyes and mouth of a human face. Examples of these seashell masks, found in Kyushu and dating to the Middle Jomon period, are stylistically similar to excavated materials from mainland China and the Korean peninsula, but they did not appear to spread to the Honshu area. In northern Honshu it is clay masks that are frequently found. 22Unlike their seashell counterparts they form an entirely separate tradition from that found in China. Although many fewer in number than the dogu, these masks have some striking attributes. They comprise two types: one with pierced openings for eyes and mouth and one without. Those with openings, dating to the Late Jomon period, have animated expressions that developed during the Final Jomon period into a more frozen gaze, without openings. The masks from Makumae ( cat. 65) and Mawaki in Ishikawa prefecture, for example, have distinctive curved noses and seem very expressive - some even depict tears - unlike the somewhat expressionless mask from Mamachi ( top: fig. 17). In fact the Mamachi mask found in association with a burial pit may have functioned as a death mask. Some have traces of holes, through which cords probably passed to hold the mask in place. Individual clay noses, mouths and ears have also been found - at Hatten ( cat. 62), Koda and Takaragamine - and may have been attached to masks made of other materials, perhaps wood or skin. Clay masks were made in larger or smaller forms: the larger examples would have covered the whole face while the smaller ones were perhaps worn on the forehead, or simply served as amulets. Changes of style seemingly accompanied a change of function, as masks that had once been worn in rituals now became ritual funerary ornaments. Sannai Maruyama and Shakado: sites of shattered deities In the early 1990s, archaeologists working on the site of the new Aomori prefectural baseball stadium uncovered the largest Jomon settlement known to date, at Sannai Maruyama. Although the location was known for its ancient relics since the Edo period, nobody predicted that this place would produce the largest number of dogufrom any single Jomon settlement complex yet discovered. The majority of doguhave been found in locations that have produced just a small number of ceramic figures, although the sites at Sannai Maruyama in Aomori and Shakadoin Yamanashi prefecture, both dating to the Early and Middle Jomon, have revealed them in larger numbers. Ceramic figures were produced, used and deposited in great quantities at these two settlement complexes: some 1,100
Encountering dogu33 as at Hinohama in Hokkaido. What makes the Hinohama example all the more intriguing is that wild boar are not native to the island of Hokkaido, and must have been transported across the Tsugaru Straits in dug- out canoes. At the Tajiri shell midden in Miyagi prefecture, the remains of two young wild boar were carefully buried, leading some investigators to suggest that they had died while being raised and were given appropriately respectful burials. From the same site the remains of 187 dogs were also discovered. Dogs had been important to foragers from the beginning of the Jomon period, as shown by the careful burial of one at the Kamikuroiwa rock shelter, and it was probably mainly dogs that were domesticated, unlike any other animals in the Jomon bestiary. However, there are relatively few examples of dog- shaped dogu. A small assemblage of figures from Fujioka Jinja in Tochigi prefecture, however, evokes a scene in which the larger dog- shaped doguappears to be marshalling a small cohort of three juvenile wild boar. Dogu vessels Most Jomon pottery is decorated with abstract designs, but some bear motifs of human- inspired forms, while others show animals, trees and even scenes of hunting. Sometimes these motifs are applied to the vessels' surface or very often they are incorporated into handles and other projections ( figs 14 and 16), looming out of the rims of the pottery vessels, or giving human or animal form to the mouth of the pot itself. Douglass Bailey suggests that the Chobonaino dogu needs to be understood in the context of a social philosophy of pouring ( see p. 67): the doguvessels suggest that special meanings, associated with human and animal forms, were given to the contents of the vessels they adorn. Whatever their uses, these doguvessels show that special powers were not restricted to the doguthemselves. Fig. 16 Pottery vessels with handles and projections in the form of wild boar ( Nakanoya Matsubara, Gunma prefecture, Early Jomon). Wild boar may have played a special role in the Jomon world, perhaps being raised as livestock. Jomon potters chose to represent them in their creations more often than other animals that were also important in the Jomon diet, such as deer.