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Unformatted text preview: mon in ancient China. More important, the
images of human beings do not appear until relatively late in the evolution of the haniwa. The earlier haniwa were simply plain cylinders. Perhaps they were employed to reduce erosion or to mark off certain areas
on the burial mounds for ritual purposes. On the other hand, the later The Emergence of Japanese Civilization 15 Fig. 6 Haniwa shamaness (courtesy of the Brooklyn
Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Marcus) haniwa, which depict living beings and sundry commonplace objects,
indicate a new use of these images to reproduce in the afterlife a world
that was familiar to the deceased.
Apart from certain shamanistic female figurines, most of the haniwa
are entirely secular in appearance: that is, they have no religious or
magical aura about them. This may be a commentary on the simple,
direct outlook of the early inhabitants of Japan. A number of Japanese
scholars have asserted that the haniwa possess a quality they call heimei
—openness and candor—that reflects the native spirit of Japan before it
was altered by Confucian rationalism and the complex religious doctrines of Buddhism. Whether or not this is true, the haniwa are aesthetically excellent examples of the Japanese preference, which we observed
in Yayoi pottery, for naturalness in the use of materials and for plain, uncluttered forms.
Beginning in the early 400s, there was a change in the funerary objects
of the burial mounds. Whereas the mounds until then had contained 16 The Emergence of Japanese Civilization things that were used mainly for ornamental and ritual purposes, including many bronze pieces, the fifth century brought an increasing number
of more practical objects, such as tools and weapons of iron. Most striking was the appearance on the mounds of warrior and horse haniwa. The
Chinese dynastic histories make no mention of the existence of horses in
the land of Wa in earlier times, a fact which of course does not necessarily
mean that there were no such animals the...
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- Spring '13