Jōmon figurines. Clay images of humans and animals from 10 to 30 centimeters (4 to 12 in) high made by the hunters and gatherers of the Jōmon period (ca 10,000 BC - ca 300 BC). First crafted as flat, two-dimensional images, they were made three-dimensional in the Late Jōmon period (ca 2500 BC - ca 1000 BC). In the Final Jōmon period (ca 1000 BC - ca 300 BC), large figurines with distinctive faces were common. Most of the figurines represent human females and may symbolize pregnancy or fertility. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)
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