Japan, Late Yayoi Period / Dotaku / 100-200Japan, Late Yayoi Period

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Japanese
Creator Dates/Places: Japan
Creator Active Place: Japan
Creator Name-CRT: Japan, Late Yayoi Period
Title: Dotaku
Title Type: Primary
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 100
Creation End Date: 200
Creation Date: 100-200
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Metalwork
Materials and Techniques: cast bronze
Dimensions: Overall: 97.8cm x 48.9cm
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1916.1102
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Arthur St. John Newberry
Rights: http://www.clemusart.com/museum/disclaim2.html
Context: A dramatic new era in Japan's history arrived around 1000 BC with the introduction of rice cultivation and a complex irrigation system necessary to grow it successfully. The Yayoi period also witnessed the beginnings of cloth weaving, glass making, and bronze and iron casting. It was an era of increased social and political organization that developed both from changes among the many clans already on the islands and from a continuous flow of new peoples from Korea and beyond. Unlike the Jomon peoples, the Yayoi lived in fixed settlements. They protected themselves with dry moats, fences, and watchtowers and built raised storage sheds for harvested rice and special tombs for their religious and clan leaders. Dotaku are often uncovered near such burial sites, usually a single "bell" with a metal spear or sword nearby. The form is thought to have originated in Korea; in Japan they were meant to be struck to produce a tone. But the development of the dotaku shape from a thickly cast, stout bell to an imposing sculptural form with sophisticated surface decor suggests other dimensions. The handle and flange of this piece have raised sawtooth designs. The double protuberances on the edge of the flange are plain, as are the six rectangular fields defined by thecrossing bands of raised lines. It was cast in a two-part sandstone mold carved with the designs that appear as raised bronze lines on the bell surface. The raw materials for the casting (copper, lead, and tin) came from Korea, since indigenous sources were not uncovered until the seventh century. Thus bronze was a precious material for the Yayoi people, perhaps more so than iron, which was used primarily for military and farming implements in this agrarian society. Indeed, judging from the expensive materials, sophisticated casting technology, and archaeological find sites, dotaku clearly represented something more than a musical instrument in Yayoi culture. Japanese archaeologists have proposed a ritual significance because these objects were frequentlyburied next to weapons and away from human settlements (they were not grave offerings). Dotaku such as this imposing example were likely meant to be seen and worshiped rather than be heard.M.R.C.
AMICA ID: CMA_.1916.1102
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art

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