ASIA212Varley

C the jmon or literally rope pattern age the jmon

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Unformatted text preview: f, which lasted until about 400–300 b.c., the Jòmon or, literally, “rope pattern” age. The Jòmon Japanese were primarily hunters, gatherers, and fishers. They tended to move about with the seasons, although later in the age they established at least semipermanent settlements. Many Jòmon settlements were near the coast, where their inhabitants had easy access to food from the sea, especially shellfish, which they consumed voraciously. Jòmon remains were first discovered in modern times by an American, E. S. Morse, who in 1877 uncovered “kitchen middens” (the garbage mounds or refuse heaps of primitive people) at Òmori south of Tokyo. Because these middens were composed largely of discarded shells, archaeologists called them “shell mounds” (kaizuka). These mounds are of great value for several reasons. In addition to providing information about the diet of the Jòmon people (for example, there are many bones of small animals as well as shells in the mounds) they also contain tools, pottery, and other objects of Jòmon life. Jòmon people lived first in caves and later in shallow pits covered with The Emergence of Japanese Civilization 3 Fig. 1 Jòmon pottery (courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum) thatching. These pit dwellings (tateana) were uniformly small—a typical tateana was about two feet deep and fifteen feet in diameter—and could accommodate at most four or five people (that is, a nuclear family). Jòmon graves were also small; indeed they were merely holes into which bodies, in flexed or fetal position, were inserted. Along with the pit dwellings, these unpretentious graves provide proof that New Stone Age society in Japan was essentially classless. Among the most striking objects from the Jòmon age are earthenware figurines, known as dogû, that in their distorted representations of halfhuman, half-beastlike beings seem to be the creation of minds absorbed with superstition and primitive magic (fig. 2). A number of dogû depict female creatures with prominent breasts and pregnant stomachs, phy...
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