Haniwa or ‘planted rings’ date from the Kofun period (250AD-538AD).
The earliest Haniwa examples are simple clay cylinders and were originally functioned to secure the contours of the burial mounds. By the 4th century AD tombs had haniwa in multiple forms including animals, tools and houses. Figural Haniwa were created in the 5th-6th centuries.
The present male haniwa figure very likely represents a bearded Court official sporting an elongated detachable hat and holding a scroll in his left hand, vividly attests to the world of early Japan. Sturdily potted from earthenware, his wide face, triangular nose, crescent shaped eyes and oval mouth evoke an impassive resolve.
- A similar Haniwa of a Chieftan holding a sword and crown is in the British Museum, London. Museum number: 2003,0319.3.
- Another example of a warrior is in the Musee Guimet, Paris.
- There seems to be no other example of this figure in Museums or in Private Collections.
- The result of the Oxford Authentication Ltd. Thermoluminescence test no. N118b45 is consistent with the dating of this Haniwa figure.