Title:HorseArtist:Artist UnknownDate:Kofun periodCreation Place:Asia, JapanCredit Line:The John R. Van Derlip Fund and Gift of funds from Louis W. Hill, Jr.Accession Number:83.130
Among the most distinctive and compelling works to survive from prehistoric Japan are the hollow clay figures of animals and humans called haniwa, literally clay cylinders. Unlike Chinese funerary figures, haniwa were placed above the ground, atop huge burial mounds. This horse, with its simplified, geometric forms, and naive embellishments, conveys the early artists' direct expressiveness and fidelity to the nature of clay. The representation of bronze bells, stirrups, and bridle fittings reflects Japan's belated entrance into the Bronze Age.