Object photography

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Object description

  • Japanese artist
  • Haniwa figure of a young man, late 5th-6th century
  • Earthenware, clay slip
  • Japan
  • H: 26 in, W: 11 3/8 in (H: 66.0 cm, W: 28.9 cm)
  • Exchange, Yamanaka and Co., 1939
  • E31587


This is a red unglazed clay male figure. Incised eyes and mouth. Upraised left arm. The figure apears to be wearing a dagger around the waist, and appendages hanging from the sides of the face suggest braids. Some red iron slip visible on nose, forehead, and sides of face. Vertical, incised lines on surface, probably as a result of the forming process. Two circular holes cut into opposite sides of base. A Haniwa figure such as this would have flanked the exterior of a burial tomb, probably amongst a number of similar figures. Left arm shows signs of repair. All fingers of the left hand and three fingers of the right hand have broken off. The earliest haniwa were simply clay cylinders placed vertically in the ground around the perimeter of immense tomb mounds. Later, haniwa were made in the form of inanimate objects, animals, and human figures. This figure of a young man with a knife in his belt displays a painted face and hair dressed in the ancient mizura style. Kofun period

Exhibition History

  • Japanese Art Gallery, Peabody Essex Museum; January 06, 2003 through Present
  • Japan Day by Day: An Exhibition in Honor of Edward Sylvester Morse, Peabody Museum of Salem; November 23, 1977 through April 15, 1978