Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2000 Japan Times
Dig turns up rare earthenware jug
A gourd-shaped jug estimated to be about 2,000 years old has been unearthed at a Yayoi Period ruins in Kitakyushu.
KITAKYUSHU (Kyodo) A gourd-shaped jug has recently been dug up at the ruins of a Yayoi Period dwelling that dates back some 2,000 years, local officials said.
The earthenware jug was found at the Naganooto archaeological site in Kitakyushu’s Kokura-minami Ward, they said.
Gourd-shaped earthenware is rare in Japan, and it is the first time in Kyushu that such an artifact has been discovered intact, according to the Kitakyushu Municipal Board of Education.
The jug is about 18.5 cm high and has a 500-cc capacity. Archaeologists believe the jug was used in rites.
What is the historic significance of the jug? You wrote that it is rare in Japan, only being found the one time, in fact. Does this mean that the Yayoi or their rice came from China or … is there some other historic relevence?
Thank you if you have the time to respond. Gourd-shaped, how poetic.
Btw, your site has a lot of very helpful information not offered in encyclopaedias and other sources!
Thank you for putting it up!
The ritual significance of the jug was noted in the last part. The gourd-shaped jug mentioned in the article was the only one found in Yayoi Kitakyushu, and being earthenware (and therefore difficult to fashion) – it was an extremely rare piece. However, natural and lacquered gourd jugs had been around 8,000-9,000 years ago – in both China and Japan so it was part of the hunter-gatherer-forager’s equipment as water carrier as well. Source: Domestication History of the Bottle Gourd http://archaeology.about.com/od/bterms/qt/bottle_gourd.htm On Japanese bottle gourds, the topic is dealt with extensively by Junko Habu’s “Ancient Jomon of Japan” and Keiji Imamura’s “Prehistoric Japan” notes it as common finds in Middle Jomon sites. Gourds are of interest from the point of domestication of plant foods view, migratory /DNA patterns (non-native to Japan), ritual uses as well as practical uses.