ASIA212Varley

Still other dog whose limbs appear to have been

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Unformatted text preview: sical features that suggest these figurines were used in some sort of fertility rites. Still other dogû, whose limbs appear to have been deliberately broken off, were quite likely employed by medicine men for the purpose of curing ailments of the arms and legs. The Jòmon period came to an end about 400–300 b.c. as the result of 4 The Emergence of Japanese Civilization Fig. 2 Dogû figurine ( The Metropolitan Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jerome Koizim, 1978) major new cultural influences from the continent. By far the most important of these was wet-rice (paddy field) agriculture, a type of farming that flourishes in central and south China (the colder climate of north China is not hospitable to it) and that may have been transmitted almost simultaneously at this time to both southern Korea and western Japan.2 Three hundred b.c. is historically close to the date (221 b.c.) when the great civilization of north China, centered on the Yellow River, was unified for the first time by the Ch’in dynasty. It seems possible that impulses from the Ch’in unification, which had been under way for many years, spread outward to both Korea and Japan and, in the case of the latter, brought the Yayoi period (ca. 300 b.c.–a.d. 300), so named because of the site in modern Tokyo—Yayoi—where the remains of this phase of Japanese civilization were first discovered. Before World War II, it was generally believed that the Yayoi period was begun by a migration of people from the Asian continent via Korea, and that the new “Yayoi people,” moving first eastward (to the Kantò region of Honshu) and then northward, gradually displaced the Jòmon The Emergence of Japanese Civilization 5 people and became the Japanese of historic times. More recently, however, scholars have come to believe that the shift from Jòmon to Yayoi was essentially cultural: that is, the Jòmon people became the Yayoi people under influences from China.3 (See the beginning of Chapter 3 for more remarks about the possible relationship between the Jòmon and Yayoi peoples.) With the introduction of agriculture, the Japanese...
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