Dogu, the 2500-5000 year old clay figurines from Japan, tell the story of a culture that celebrated women and fertility. I was enchanted by these artifacts at the National History Museum in Oeno Park, Tokyo, Japan last week. And found myself wondering what story historians 2500 years from now (yes - I'm a optimist) will tell about us, based on our artistic artifacts?
Background: Quote from Suite 101 The Power of Dogu – Exhibition Preview: Ancient Japanese Ceramic Figurines Will be Shown at British Museum
Dogu are ceramic figures with animal or human features. They were produced using high quality pottery in a wide variety of shapes and sizes with curious decoration and intricate geometric designs. A number of techniques were employed including modelling, clay appliqué, decoration with twisted plant fibres (jomon means ‘cord-marked’) and burnishing. Many were painted, usually with red pigments, or covered with lacquer.
Some have definite female features while many others are not gender-specific. Some figures wear facial masks, while others have heart-shaped faces or triangular heads. Some dogu appear to be praying while many females squat as if in childbirth.