Important Cultural PropertyBoat, Haniwa (unglazed earthen object)

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  • Excavated from the Saitobaru Tumuli, Saito-city, Miyazaki Prefecture
  • 1 piece
  • L 100.0
  • Kofun period/5th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • J-21498

This is a large ship in the shape of a gondola featuring a strongly turned-up bow and stern and a round body below the ship frame. It is believed that this clay image represents an actual quasi-structured ship, part of which was excavated recently. This was excavated and restored in the 1930s and promptly introduced at an archaeological society meeting. This is a representational haniwa (clay image) that demonstrates the image of an ocean going vessel before the Nara period, which had been formed based on myths and lore. The recent dismantling and repairing operation has shed light on the complex combination of parts enabled by the molding techniques unique to haniwa, such as formation techniques that use wound-up clay strings, clay boards and small sword-like tools.