Tokamachi City Museum

Japanese
Site Map
Inquiries

Permanent Exhibitions|Tokamachi City Museum

Home > Permanent Exhibitions > Death and Burial

The Flame-style Pottery (National Treasure)

Life in a Jomon Village

Death and Burial

Oida Castle and Date-Hachimankan Ruins

Echigo Chijimi

Winter Tools

Echigo Angin

Silk Goods

Botanical Garden and Iseki Park

Death and Burial of the Jomon People
Prayer and Ritual

As the Jomon people were largely dependent on their natural environment in all aspects of their life, prayer and ritual practices that involved nature were surely a vital part of their lifestyle. They crafted animal-shaped clay dolls, and pottery which they decorated which depictions of hunting scenes. These items reflect their compassion for hunting, and deep respect towards the animals that would become their sustenance. In a similar way, the Jomon people also crafted dolls with a human-like figure, and tools shaped like parts of the human body. These were most likely used to pray for recovery from illness or injury, and for successful childbirth and regeneration.

Graves
At the Kuri no Kida ruins, archeologists have discovered a gravestone site that dates from the Late Jomon period (1500-1000 BC). It consisted of a large central stone, measuring 60cm in height and 25cm in width, and an arrangement of flat stones in a circular pattern. Beneath the ground they discovered 5 graves and 2 deep jar burial urns. This is thought to be the remains of a circular stone burial.
Graves
Model of a Jomon Stone Burial
Our reproduction of the circular stone burial site found at the Kuro no Kida ruins shows the arrangement of stones on the surface, as well as everything that was excavated beneath it including the numerous small bones and pottery parts. There are upturned deep jar pots placed over the head and face of the deceased. The reason for this is unknown, but recent research suggests that this was a custom used for those who died from disease. It has also been noted that these vessels have a small chip in them, the reason for which is also unknown.
Model of a Jomon Stone Burial
Clay Dolls
Jomon period clay dolls, considered to resemble humans and human-like sprites, are perhaps the first thing that comes to mind when we think about the symbolic character of Jomon. Most of them are thought to be female due to them having female body parts and features. This suggests that they were used in prayers toward pregnancy, reproduction and childbirth. Also, there are theories that some were created to bear the brunt of illness and natural disaster in place of humans. They were then smashed along with the malady stored inside. In this region, archeologists have excavated large number of triangular-shaped figurines, especially from the Sasayama ruins in Tokamachi City.
Clay Dolls

Top