Ancient Japanese Pottery

A Snapshot of the Origins of Japanese Ceramics.
Jomon ware

Ancient Japanese pottery can be traced to the Jomon period, which dates from 10,000BCE to 300BCE in Japan.

During this time it is believed that the Jomon people made the first known pottery vessels in the world.

Jomon pots were hand-turned and decorated by impressing cord-markings around the pot. ‘Jomon’ in Japanese is the translation of ‘cord-marked’. Jomon ware was also baked in the open.

The cord-markings had both an aesthetic and practical purpose. Practically, the cord-markings prevented the pots from cracking.

Yayoi ware

Early Japanese pottery is also characterized by the Yayoi period, which dates from 300BCE to 250AD.

The Yayoi culture originated in western Japan, and moved east and then north to Honshu. Some historians believe that pots made in this period are similar to those found in Korea. Others believe that there is a strong influence from the Jomon period.

This period is unique, as Yayoi pottery was produced on a pottery wheel. The pottery was unglazed and the surface smooth.

Stone Age – 50,000-2000 BC
Shang Dynasty – 1766-1122 BC
Chou Dynasty –
Western Chou -1122-771 BC
Eastern Chou-
Spring and Autumn period -771-481 BC
Warring States period -481-221 BC
Ch’in (Qin) Dynasty -221-206 BC
Han Dynasty -206 BC-AD 220
Three Kingdoms – 220-581 AD
Sui Dynasty – 581-618 AD
T’ang Dynasty – 618-907 AD
Sung Dynasty – 960-1279 AD
Mongols – 1279-1368 AD
Ming Dynasty -1368-1644 AD