Tomb Sculpture ("Haniwa"): Man in Formal Attire
This haniwa, or terracotta tomb figurine, was discovered in Ota City in Gunma Prefecture. He is wearing a hat with decorative features, while a necklace hangs around his neck. His hair is also tied up in large bundles over the ears in a style known as mizura. All this suggests the figurine represents a man of high standing. The long sword attached to his waist and the arm guards also tell us this man is a warrior. Haniwa were produced from the 3rd to the 7th century. These unglazed clay items adorned the graves and kofun burial mounds of kings and other powerful figures. The section below the feet was encased in clay to make it seem the figurine was standing guard within the tumulus. Past excavations suggest that human or animal-shaped figurines were placed in kofun to recreate ceremonial or hunting scenes. This haniwa was discovered while road works were being carried out. It was found together with another man with a hat, a woman sporting a topknot, and a decorated horse. Unfortunately, we don't know much about the tumulus where this haniwa came from, but its gorgeous, stately appearance is thought to represent a member of the nobility attending a ceremony.