Important Cultural Property
Excavated in Moheji, Hokuto-city, Hokkaidō
H17.9 aperture D9.9 body D15.1 bottom D3.5
Jyōmon period/2000-1000 BC
Tokyo National Museum
While the earthenware of the Jomon period is generally decorated with abstract patterns, there are rare cases where faces or bodies are represented. The decoration in human shape represented on the surface of earthenware like this one is called "hitogata (human shape)" decoration or "jintaimon (human pattern)." The hitogata decoration is often found among the earthenware of the middle phase of the Middle Jomon period in the Kanto and Chubu regions and those of the late phase of the Late Jomon period in the area from Hokkaido to the Kanto region. In the latter case, the hitogata decoration is often applied to spout bottle or jar-type earthenware.
The neck of this specimen branches off from the rim into two directions. A spout mouth and a small foot (kodai) are attached to the hollow doughnut-shaped body. Due to these unique neck and body shapes, this vessel is called ikeichukodoki (literally irregular-shaped spout mouth earthenware). Moreover, faces are represented at the points where the neck branches off and the entire bodies of the human faces are represented from the necks to the body of the vessel. The decoration is massive: it comprises a sansamon and pasted lumps in addition to an irikumimon applied via the surikeshijomon technique.
This is an earthenware vessel for rituals that Jomon people produced with special commitment as demonstrated not only by the unique shape, but also by the addition of hitogata (human shape) decoration that represents faces and entire bodies.