Prehistoric Japanese Pottery


The pottery of the Yayoi Period (250 B.C.E. - 250 C.E.) is much different than that of the Early through Late Jomon Period. Yayoi pottery is less decorated, lacking luster and appears more like its original makeup. Moreover, the Yayoi people were ethnically different from the original Jomon people, most likely arriving in Japan from the Korean peninsula. As a result, the differences in Yayoi pottery are also due in part to the influence of this new of people.

Like Jomon pottery, Yayoi pottery is also geometric. While they typically lack paints, some pieces are painted with a red pigment (such as the ceremonial pieces). What they lack in luster they make up in practicality, for they are considered to be more practical than their predecessors, the Jomon pottery. They are simple, but their usages are easily discernible, unlike that of the overly-complex Jomon pottery: jars were for storage, large jars for cooking, high-footed cups/bowls were for making offerings.

Storage Jar Cooking Jar
STORAGE: This jar was made in the Late Yayoi period (100-300 C.E.). Although it is incised with a decoration, the jar is a prime example of the Yayoi potters' preference of an imperfect, natural style. COOKING: This utilitarian urnished jar is from the Middle Yayoi PEriod ( 100 B.C.E.-100 C.E.), possibly used for cooking/storage.


Offerings Jar

OFFERINGS: This high-footed jar is from the Late Yayoi period (100-200 C.E.). Having thin disks on its side, it is much more decorated compared to other Yayoi pots. It was used for some kind of ceremony. Similar jars known as "palace-style" ware are painted red.


Jomon Period
8000 B.C.E. - 250 B.C.E.
Yayoi Period
250 B.C.E. - 250 C.E.
Kofun Period
250 C.E. - 600 C.E.