Horn-shaped Vessel


Horn-shaped Vessel

Archaeology / Kofun / Fukui

Place excavated:Excavated at Shishizuka Tumulus, Mihama-cho, Fukui

Kofun period, 6th century


This is a ceramic horn-shaped cup. Vessels like this were originally made from hollowed-out animal horns and they were probably used for drinking alcohol. They were prevalent among nomadic peoples from Central Asia and they eventually arrived on Japan's shores via the Korean peninsula.

This type of pottery is known as Sue ware. Sue objects were fired at high temperatures in kilns. This made them harder and thinner than the earthenware that had prevailed in Japan before then. The impermeability of Sue ware also made it ideal for cups like this. Similar horn-shaped cups have been found in several regions across Japan. All were made in Japan based on examples from the Korean peninsula.

This cup was found in a tumulus in the town of Mihama, Fukui prefecture, with the ruins of the cup's kiln also found nearby. The town faces Wakasa Bay and it served as an important hub for trade with the mainland since ancient times. It is unclear whether this cup was made specially for burial in a tomb or whether it was actually used in daily life. However, objects like this reveal how people lived back then and how they received and adapted influences from the continent.

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