The power of dogu:ceramic figures from ancient Japan

The British Museum is running an exhibition to highlight the beautiful and remarkable ceramic figures  known as dogu – they are mysterious masterpieces produced in great numbers in prehistoric Japan.


Dogu are from the earliest-dated tradition of pottery manufacture in the world, dating to the prehistoric Jomon period, which began 16,000 years ago. Most of the figures in the exhibition are from about 2500 BC to 1000 BC (the Middle and Late Jomon periods) and show the development of the sculptural form over time.

Many of the objects on display are designated Japanese National Treasures or Important Cultural Properties and all are on loan from public and private collections in Japan. Most have never been seen outside Japan before.

The exhibition also explains the origins, development and disappearance of dogu, and demonstrates how they shed light on the archaeology of prehistoric Japan.

For highlights of the collection click here.

For related events, follow this link.