The Jomon period (13,000 BC to 400 BC) 縄文時代

  • Published on : 28/04/2020
  • by : S.R.
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L'art dans le japon préhistorique avec la céramique cordée de Jômon

La préhistoire se divise en deuxsous-périodes au Japon. Le Paléolithique, qui commence il y a près de 40 000ans avant Jésus-Christ, et la période dite Jômon, qui elle débute près de 13 000ans avant notre ère. À la découverte d'un Japon primordial.


We usually distinguish the Paleolithic from the Neolithic, the two great eras of prehistory, by the existence of agricultural and animal husbandry systems within the human groups studied, systems which lead to the sedentarization of individuals.

The Jomon era (13,000 BC to 400 BC) is a so-called Mesolithic era, an intermediate era during which the inhabitants of Japan were still engaged in hunting and gathering while they began to build settlements. 

Sannai maruyama

Traditional habitat of the early Jomon era

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The Jomon period takes its name from the two kanji "jo" meaning "strings" and "my", which can be translated by "decor" or "sign".

Indeed, very many potteries decorated with the impression of cord from this period were exhumed across the country, the ancestors of the Japanese being one of the very first populations in history to use this process. For comparison, a similar culture, that of corded ceramics, was also found in Northern Europe and in western Russia, but dating from a much later period (from around 3000 to 2200 years).

This process can be found in the decoration of the very enigmatic dogu. These terracotta statuettes with spread legs and tiny arms used for ceremonies were found from the south of Hokkaido to the Osaka region.

A Jomon-era figurine

A Jomon-era figurine



The Jomon era was also characterized by the formation of the first villages to be found on the islands.

With many of these structures organized in a circle, they generally included 5 to 10 dwellings, with semi-buried houses and larger buildings, which were to have community gatherings. The dead were buried around the center of the village.

House or attic on stilts

House or attic on stilts

Wiki commons

 The village of Sannai Maruyama site in Aomori

The village of Sannai Maruyama site in Aomori


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