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5.6: Yayoi Period (300 BCE – 300 CE)

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  • The Yayoi Period followed the Jomon Period in Japan. The Yayoi civilization thrived from 300 BCE to 300 CE as Yayoi people developed rice paddy flooding techniques and mastered methods of iron and bronze casting using resources that were readily available from the surrounding rock. They lived in small communities and grew rice along rivers and coastal plains, constructing groups of pit houses with thatched roofs and dirt floors, similar to the Jomon. As the population increased, society became more complex, and social classes began to develop.

    Yayoi pottery (5.25) produced long-necked jars, basins, wide-mouthed pots, and bowls on pedestals with added geometric patterns for decoration. They were probably made with the coil method and slip added to create a fine clay surface — the ceremonial vessels decorated with red pigment as well as simple patterns.

    5.25 Yayoi pottery
    A picture containing wall, indoor
    5.26 Dotaku

    Men and women wore necklaces and bracelets of beads, shells, and small bells made of bronze. They knew how to smelt iron and make simple tools, weapons, and farming implements. The bronze mirror and sword were significant symbols of the culture. The dotaku (5.26), a thin, elongated bronze bell made in molds were 10 cm to 127 cm tall and decorated with a lattice pattern with decorative bands of animals and nature. The primary purpose of the bells is unknown; however, there is evidence of their use in agricultural rituals.

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