Period: Yayoi period (ca. 300 B.C.–ca. A.D. 300)

Date: ca. 100–300

Culture: Japan

Medium: Earthenware with incised decoration

Dimensions: H. 10 3/4 in. (27.3 cm); W. 10 7/8 in. (27.6 cm)

Classification: Ceramics

Credit Line: The Harry G. C. Packard Collection of Asian Art, Gift of Harry G. C. Packard, and Purchase, Fletcher, Rogers, Harris Brisbane Dick, and Louis V. Bell Funds, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, and The Annenberg Fund Inc. Gift, 1975

Accession Number: 1975.268.375


A reference to an historical period and an early culture, the name Yayoi derives from the site near Tokyo University where pottery of this type was first discovered in 1884. Storage jars, cooking vessels, and footed dishes, unearthed in many sites throughout the archipelago, are the most common forms in Yayoi pottery. The storage jar shown here is from the area that encompasses present-day Kyoto, Osaka, and Nara. It was made by the coil method and the surface was smoothed and strengthened by paddling and shaving. A tiny foot supports the bulbous body of the jar. It was potted in light buff earthenware that turned red and black in spots during firing. Outlines of crescent shapes, possibly reflecting an earlier tradition of using shells to impress decoration into a clay body, are incised into the center of one side, presumably the front.