Clothes Iron


Clothes Iron

Archaeology / Kofun / Nara

Place excavated:Found at Niizawa Senzuka No. 126 Tumulus, Nara

Kofun period, 5th century



Important Cultural Property

The Niizawa Senzuka tumuli cluster is located in Kashihara City in Nara prefecture. It comprises around 600 tumuli dating from the 4th to the 6th centuries, predominantly small round burial mounds. Of particular note is Tumulus No. 126, a rectangular tumulus from the latter half of the 5th century. It measures 16 meters by 22 meters, which is not particularly large, but it housed an impressive trove of valuable objects.

Several items were found around a wooden coffin, including a metal object that served as a kind of ancient clothes iron, for instance, as well as the oldest example of a lacquered plate found in Japan. The plate features a design of the shijin, or four mythical Chinese deities who guard the four cardinal directions. The coffin's occupant wore a number of resplendent ornaments. Several gold plates were located around the head area, which suggests they were attached to some headwear, while many small gold decorations were found amid the clothing. The coffin's occupant also sported eight gold and silver rings, three bracelets, and some exquisitely crafted earrings. All these were made on the Chinese mainland or the Korean Peninsula. Several glass vessels and plates were also unearthed from the coffin. These were extremely valuable objects at that time and they are thought to have come from West Asia. All these objects from different countries suggest the coffin housed a cosmopolitan person with an international outlook.

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Kashihara / 橿原 / Niizawa / Senzuka

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