The nihongo|Haniwa|埴輪 are terra cotta clay figures which were made for ritual use and buried with the dead as funerary objects during the Kofun period (3rd to 6th century AD) of the history of Japan.

During the Kofun period, a highly aristocratic society with militaristic rulers developed. The cavalry wore iron armor, carried swords and other weapons, and used advanced military methods like those of Northeast Asia. Many of them are represented in Haniwa figurines for funerary purposes.

The most important of the "haniwa" were found in southern Honshū—especially the Kinai region around Nara—and northern Kyūshū. "Haniwa" grave offerings were made in numerous forms, such as horses, chickens, birds, fans, fish, houses, weapons, shields, sunshades, pillows, and male and female humans. Besides decorative and spiritual reasons of protecting the deceased in his afterlife, these figures also served as a sort of retaining wall for the burial mound.

Because these "haniwa" display the contemporary clothing, hairstyle, farming tools, and architecture, these sculptures are important as a historical archive of the Kofun Period.

The origin of Haniwa

The origin of "haniwa" started during the latter part of the Yayoi Era around the Kibi region. During this time special earthenware figurines and bowls started to appear on top of the tombs of leaders. The early sculptures exceeded 1 meter (3 feet) in length. They consisted of a cylindrical portion which represented the torso, and a skirt-shaped portion at the base, which represented the legs. Many times a special insignia or pattern would be displayed on the torso. Sometimes an obi would be placed around the torso portion of the sculpture. These sculptures are thought to have been used as part of a funeral ritual. Other than the Kibi area, the only other place these sculptures were found was in the Izumo province.

During the latter part of the 3rd century AD, these sculptures started to appear on top of the imperial grave mounds in the Kinai region. During this time more elaborate "haniwa" would appear along with earthenware bowls. It is believed that the movement of these sculptures and haniwa from the Kibi region to the Kinai region is indicative of an increase in the importance.

Later Development of the Haniwa

During the earlier part of the Kofun period (latter 3rd century AD) the only earthenware "haniwa" were of the cylindrical variety; however, towards early 4th century AD, shield and other tool-shaped "haniwa" started to appear. Additionally, during the middle Kofun period (mid-5th century C.E.) shrine maiden, horse, dog, and other animal-shaped "haniwa" were introduced. As the practice of having ceremonial burial mounds declined in the mid 6th century C.E., haniwa became rarer in the Kinai region; however, the haniwa were still made in abundance in the Kantō region.

ignificance of the Haniwa

Originally, the cylindrical type "haniwa" were set on top of the funeral mounds, so it is believed that they had a purpose in funeral rituals; however, as the "haniwa" became more developed, they were set towards the outside of the grave area, and it is thought that they were used as boundary markers to mark the borders of the gravesite.

There is a theory that the soul of the deceased would reside in the "haniwa", as the earlier "haniwa" were placed on top of the funeral mounds. There are "haniwa" that are equipped with weapons and armor, and these are also thought to be containers for souls. The armor and weapons would serve the purpose of driving away evil spirits and protecting the buried ruler from calamity. Because the horse and animal shaped "haniwa" were normally neatly arranged into a line, it is believed that they were part of a sending-off ceremony.

Haniwa depictions in modern media

In many depictions in modern popular culture, the Haniwa (depicted as containing an actual sentient entity and not just as a empty sculpture) has found root. The most common depiction in these legends portrays the Haniwa in a rounded, pot-like shape, with two deep eyes, a wide mouth, and with two featureless "arms" on opposite sides of the "pot". The aforementioned "gourd" has appeared in a significant number of anime produced locally in Japan. However, this depiction is not limited to national scope; well known internationally released media, such as the Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy and Animal Crossing series also contain this depiction. It should be noted that these depictions portray Haniwa as primarily malevolent, without expanding significantly upon the origins of the subject.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Haniwa — en forme de maison (ère Kofun) Les haniwa (埴輪, cylindres de terre cuite) sont des figurines funéraires japonaises. On les a retrouvés dans de nombreuses tombes de la période des kofun (古墳時代, kofun jidai, IIIe …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Haniwa — in Hausform (Kofun Zeit) Die Haniwa (jap. 埴輪, dt. „Tonringe“) sind bis zu 1,50 m große japanische Grabfiguren aus unglasiertem Ton, die meist in der Technik Wasumi (oder Aufbautechnik) hergestellt wurden. Das heißt, dass zu ihrer Herstellung …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • haniwa — ● haniwa nom masculin (mot japonais) Cylindre d argile fiché dans la terre autour des tumuli de la période des grandes sépultures (kofun) au Japon. (À partir du Ve s., ils sont surmontés de personnages, d animaux ou de modèles d architecture.)… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Haniwa —   [japanisch »Tonringe«], aus rotem Ton gebrannte Grabbeigaben im frühgeschichtlichen Japan (Kofunzeit, 3. 6. Jahrhundert). Die frühesten Beispiele sind um 90 cm hohe Tonzylinder, aus denen mit der Zeit Menschen, Tiere, Häuser u. a. modelliert… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Haniwa — Los Haniwa (埴輪, Haniwa?) son figuras de terracota que fueron elaboradas para su uso en rituales y enterradas como objetos funerarios durante el período Kofun de la historia de Japón, periodo durante el cual se desarrolló una clase aristócrata de… …   Wikipedia Español

  • haniwa — /hah nee wah /, n., pl. haniwa. any of the terra cotta models of people, animals, and houses from the Yayoi period of Japanese culture. [1965 70; < Japn, earlier faniwa, equiv. to fani red clay + wa wheel] * * * Terra cotta cylinders and… …   Universalium

  • haniwa —    In Japanese tradition, sculptured pottery cylinders, modeled in human or animal figures, or in other forms, and placed in early (archaic) Japanese burial mounds (or tumuli ). Human figured haniwa figurines have generally been found in… …   Glossary of Art Terms

  • haniwa — Cilindros y esculturas de terracota colocados sobre y alrededor de las tumbas japonesas durante el período Túmulo ( 250–552 AD). Los primeros haniwa eran cilindros huecos en forma de tonel usados para deslindar un cementerio. En el s. IV los… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • haniwa — noun plural Usage: often capitalized Etymology: Japanese Date: 1931 large hollow baked clay sculptures placed on ancient Japanese burial mounds …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Haniwa — Ha|ni|wa die (Plur.) <aus jap. ha niwa »Tonringe«> aus rotem Ton gebrannte Grabbeigaben im frühgeschichtlichen Japan …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

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