VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Dogu (clay figurine).
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

This dogu was constructed with a hollow centre. The unrealistically large eyes, almost as if it were wearing goggles, are another defining feature. The similarity of the eyes to the goggles (Jpn: shakoki) used by the Inuit peoples to prevent snow blindness has led archaeologists to refer to them as “goggled dogu” (shakoki-dogu). These eye shapes are characteristic of other late-stage dogu from the Tohoku region like this one. It is an important Cultural Property.

History of the Object
Dogu are fired clay figurines most often taking human-like shapes. Many take the shape of exaggerated feminine forms or distorted human figures. They first appeared in the prehistoric Jomon Period. Early examples are flat, plate-like figures characterized by a lack of detail in the head area, making their human form barely distinguishable. They later developed into a more clearly defined “statue-like” shape toward the middle of the period. The late-stage specimens are the most advanced, and the art reached its apex as more types of highly stylized dogu were produced. This particular dogu was excavated at an archaeological site in Kamegaoka, Aomori.

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Type
Archaeological 
Materials
clay 
Measurements
Height 36.7cm  
Creator name
Unknown  
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Japan 
Geography
Japan 
Time period
BCE 1st century ~ BCE 1st century 
Creation date
BC; 1000- 400 BC. Jomon Period, 
Function
figurine 
Acquisition
It is the current policy of the Tokyo National Museum not to publish the acquisition history of its collection on the Internet. 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Tokyo National Museum 
Museum
Tokyo National Museum 
Credit line
Tokyo National Museum 
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