Giant Haniwa statue found in Japan

(ORDO NEWS) — Archaeologists excavating a mound in the Kofun Mozu-Furuichi Group, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Osaka Prefecture in southern Japan, have discovered the remains of a rare wooden haniwa statue.

Haniwa figurines are usually made from unglazed clay. Wooden specimens are extremely rare. The recent find, 3.5 meters high, also has the distinction of being the tallest haniwa ever found.

The last Iwami-style example found was 2.6 meters tall, found at Ohakayama Kofun in Tenri City in neighboring Nara Prefecture.

According to the Japan Times, the statue is almost 76 centimeters wide at its widest point and about 8 centimeters thick, making it the largest haniwa found in Japan to date.

Giant Haniwa statue found in Japan 2

According to the Habikino City Education Department, the haniwa was found during the excavation of a moat surrounding the 96-metre-long Keyhole Mound of Minegazuka Kofun , built at the end of the fifth century.

Haniwa are hollow funerary objects. As a rule, Haniwa were large, many almost life-sized.

Starting with cylindrical, jar or bell-shaped objects made by stacking clay rolls, haniwa evolved in several ways during the Kofun period (c. 250-600 AD).

At the beginning of the fourth century, house-shaped haniwa were placed next to cylindrical ones on top of the mounds.

According to historical data, by the middle of the fifth century, the haniwa had the form of objects (swords, shields, quivers, umbrellas), people (priests, warriors, virgins) and animals (horses, dogs, wild boars, ducks) and were lined up or arranged in groups of the edges of the tombs.

These preparations may have had ritual significance.


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