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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Haniwa warrior figure

Photo: Scott Leen

Haniwa warrior figure

6th century

Haniwa, meaning clay cylinders in Japanese, are hollow, earthenware funerary objects made during the Kofun period. They were not included in the burial chamber with the deceased but were placed on the open surfaces of the burial mound. Warrior figures such as this one would have been placed in a group with other figurative haniwa around the mound. Scholars have proposed several theories on the functions of haniwa but have not reached a consensus due to the lack of written evidence from the Kofun period.
53 1/4 x 16 1/2 x 10 3/4 in. (135.3 x 41.9 x 27.3cm)
Eugene Fuller Memorial Collection
Provenance: Excavated in Gunma prefecture, 100 miles north of Tokyo, ca. 1930s (as referenced in Milliken, "Masterpieces of Art," 1962); Masanari Matsubara, Ohta City, Japan; [Mayuyama & Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan]; Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, January, 1962
Photo: Scott Leen
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Asian Art Museum, Boundless: Stories of Asian Art, Feb. 8, 2020 - July 2023.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, "Luminous: The Art of Asia", October 13, 2011 - January 8, 2012

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, "A Thousand Cranes: Treasures of Japanese Art", February 5 - July 12, 1987 (2/5/1987 - 7/12/1987)

Seattle, Washington, Seattle World's Fair, "Masterpieces of Art", April 21 - September 4, 1962 (4/21/1962 - 9/4/1962)

Published ReferencesKidder, J.E., Jr.. "Japan Before Buddhism." 1959; p. 197, pl. 96.

"100 Masterpieces from the Collection of the Tokyo National Museum." 1959; pl. B.

Milliken, William M. and Davis, Norman. "Masterpieces of Art: Seattle World's Fair." Seattle: Century 21 Exposition, Inc., 1962; pp. 10, 20-21, cat. no. 3, illus.

Rogers, Millard B. "Recent Acquisitions of the Seattle Art Museum." Archaeology, vol .17, no. 4, December 1964; pp. 262-269, illus. b&w 264.

Thomas, Edward B. "Oriental Art in the Seattle Art Museum." Art in America, no. 1, 1965; illus. p. 54

Trubner, Henry. "Asian Art in the Seattle Art Museum: Fifty Years of Collecting." Seattle, WA: Seattle Art Museum, 1983; pp. 10-11, illus. b&w.

Fuller, Richard E. "A Gift to the City." Seattle, WA: Seattle Art Museum, 1993; p. 36.

"Robert Sperry: Bright Abyss." American Museum of Ceramic Art, 2008; pg. 55.

Lukavic, John, "Revolt, 1680/2180: Virgil Ortiz." Exh. Cat. Denver: Denver Art Museum, 2015; reproduced p. 12 [not in exhibition].

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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