Art of the Ancient World, C. 5000 B.c.e.–400 C.E.

Early Japan and Korea

What are haniwa?

Haniwa are figurative funerary markers made during the Kofun period in Japan (300-710 C.E.). Developing over time from simple, cylindrical forms, these unglazed, clay works reflect a Japanese taste for simple, organic design. Never perfectly symmetrical, haniwa are purposefully irregular. Though their exact function is unknown, haniwa may serve to connect the world of the dead with the world of the living.


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