Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Haniwa (Hollow Clay Sculpture) of a Boar with Bound Feet

Kofun period (ca. 300–710)
5th century
H. 3 3/4 in. (9.5 cm); W. 2 in. (5.1 cm); L. 4 7/8 in. (12/4 cm)
Credit Line:
The Harry G. C. Packard Collection of Asian Art, Gift of Harry G. C. Packard, and Purchase, Fletcher, Rogers, Harris Brisbane Dick, and Louis V. Bell Funds, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, and The Annenberg Fund Inc. Gift, 1975
Accession Number:
Not on view
The practice of building sepulchral earthen mounds and burying treasures with the dead was transmitted to Japan from the Asian continent about the third century A.D., and led to a significant change in burial customs. The bodies of the dead were interred in large wooden coffins placed in the tomb chambers. Buried with the deceased were such items as bronze mirrors, tools, weapons, personal ornaments, horse decorations, and clay vessels. The outer part of the burial mound was lined with stones.

Haniwa, literally “clay cylinders,” at times numbering in the thousands, were placed in rows at the base of the mounds and scattered on their crests or sloping sides. Sometimes the clay cylinders were topped with figures or animals. This infant boar shows the variety and range of expression achieved by the makers of haniwa. Although the reason for making this image is unknown, the large snout, curled body, and bound limbs of the small animal are the result of subtle observation and skillful hands.
[ Harry G. C. Packard , Tokyo, until 1975; donated and sold to MMA].
Southampton. Parrish Art Museum. "Japanese Ceramics: From Prehistoric Times to the Presnet," August 5, 1978–September 24, 1978.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Art in Early Japan," 1999–2000.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces from the Permanent Collection," July 2, 2005–November 29, 2005.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Sensitivity to the Seasons: Spring and Summer," December 17, 2005–June 4, 2006.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Sensitivity to the Seasons: Autumn and Winter," June 22, 2006–September 10, 2006.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Animals, Birds, Insects, and Marine Life in Japanese Art," June 26, 2008–November 30, 2008.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Poetry and Travel in Japanese Art," December 18, 2008–May 31, 2009.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Five Thousand Years of Japanese Art: Treasures from the Packard Collection," December 17, 2009–June 10, 2010.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Landscapes in Japanese Art," June 24, 2010–November 7, 2010.

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