Jomon Cup

Jomon Cup

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Online Jomon Matsuri: An invitation to participate

We hope that this finds you, your families and colleagues safe and well at this time of great disruption and uncertainty around the world as a result of the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic.

The lock-downs, changes in working practices, social distancing and other measures have had a major impact on all of our plans for 2020.

We were planning a number of activities relating to Jomon archaeology starting in the summer of 2020, in particular two exhibitions: ‘Arts of Jomon’ at the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes, home to some of the finest materials from British prehistory, showcasing contemporary artistic responses to Jomon archaeology in Japan and ‘Stonehenge and Jomon Japan’ at the Stonehenge World Heritage Visitor Centre, introducing Jomon archaeology, in particular Jomon stone circles, to the huge number of visitors who go to Stonehenge each year.

These exhibitions were intended to form part of the UK-Japan Season of Culture, marking the period between Japan hosting the Rugby World Cup in autumn 2019 and the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, now postponed to summer 2021. As a result of the current situation, plans for these exhibitions and many other projects are now sadly on hold.

As we wait for better times to return, and while it is not possible for people to get to experience the Jomon on sites or in museums, we invite you to join us in a new project to bring a little Jomon into people’s homes through an Online Jomon Matsuri, or Festival of Jomon.

The Jomon Matsuri aims to link up ongoing initiatives, specialists and organisations involved in Jomon, as well as revisiting some earlier projects, and provide a new way for audiences to engage with and participate in the pleasure, fun and excitement of Jomon archaeology. At the same time the Matsuri will build up a new resource about the Jomon which we hope will be of use to future generations of Jomon fans.

The Online Jomon Matsuri is a partnership between the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures, the Centre for Heritage Studies at the University of Cambridge and currently includes English Heritage, Wiltshire Museum, the International Jomon Culture Conference, Jomonism art collective, the Niigata Prefectural Museum of History, the Nagaoka Municipal Museum of Science and many more.

Each week, using social media, the Jomon Matsuri will highlight a particular Jomon pot, representing one of the hundreds of known pottery styles from around the Japanese archipelago, a dogu figurine or mask, and a contemporary artist interested in or inspired by Jomon, with some brief observations encouraging the audience to explore more through links to online resources, including new English language webpages. Each weekly post will also contain instructions about how to create your own Jomon-inspired masterpieces. A monthly competition will invite submissions of these new Jomon artworks, to be judged by an international panel of specialists. Jomon-themed prizes will be awarded and the best entries will feature in an online gallery.

Over the past few years we have also been working on Jomon Flame pots, and supporting the bid to have the Olympic cauldron for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics designed after a Flame pot. And we have been taking a close interest in the promotion of the nomination of 17 Jomon sites in northern Japan for inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage list. We have been following the Japan Heritage initiative developed by the Japanese Government Agency for Cultural Affairs, and the Japan Insights project pioneered by the Toshiba International Foundation, each of which include a number of Jomon sites.

We would be delighted if you would consider joining us in this venture. We hope to build on some recent an ongoing research projects in which we are involved and will be able to share details of our partners shortly. The project will draw on expertise developed through our Online Resource in Japanese Archaeology and Heritage and Global Perspectives in British Archaeology and Heritage.

We welcome all ideas, and in the first instance we are planning the following:

Jomon Pottery Style of the Week: each week we will introduce a distinctive Jomon pottery style, its characteristics, distribution and chronology, the representative sites, a little about the research history, and any particularly interesting aspects of research. We intend that this will grow into a new online resource for people around the world who are unable to use Japanese-language resources, but who have an interest in Jomon archaeology.

Jomon dogu of the week: revisiting the success of the exhibitions The Power of Dogu at the British Museum in 2009 and the 10th anniversary of the comparative exhibition of prehistoric figurines from the Jomon and European Neolithic, unearthed, at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK in 2010, we will present a different dogu each week, with observations on how our understanding of these objects has changed over the past decade.

Jomon Contemporary: drawing on the inspiration behind the now-postponed exhibition of contemporary art inspired by Jomon at the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes, we plan to engage with contemporary artists to create an online gallery of their works, with observations and interventions from Jomon specialists and others.


The very long—approximately 14,000 years—Jōmon period is conventionally divided into a number of phases: Incipient, Initial, Early, Middle, Late and Final, with the phases getting progressively shorter. Most dates for the change of phase are broadly agreed, but dates given for the start of the Incipient phase still vary rather considerably, from about 14,000 BC to 10,500 BC. The fact that this entire period is given the same name by archaeologists should not be taken to mean that there was not considerable regional and temporal diversity the chronological distance between the earliest Jōmon pottery and that of the more well-known Middle Jōmon period is about twice as long as the span separating the building of the Great Pyramid of Giza from the 21st century.

Dating of the Jōmon sub-phases is based primarily upon ceramic typology, and to a lesser extent radiocarbon dating.

Nissin creates replica Cup Noodle Jomon-era pottery cooking vessel

Instant noodles maker Nissin already hit the viral magic button with the recent release of the Otohiko Anti-Slurping Noise Noodle Eating Fork, a genuine product that functions as a “food sound camouflage utensil” to hide the slurping diners make when enjoying noodles.

Now Nissin is continuing its novel marketing campaign in this vein with a Cup Noodle cooking item made from Jomon-style pottery.

The handmade ceramic cooking vessel is based on a designated National Treature example of Jomon-era pottery. The Jomon period is the prehistorical hunter-gatherer age prior to either the arrival or the spread of the people regarded today as the Japanese (Yamato), who introduced rice cultivation and more advanced metals. One of the most important things the Jomon people left behind is the tools and pottery, especially dogu earthenware figures.

The Jomon Doki Doki Cooker (Jomon Exciting Cooker) is a replica of the Kaengata Doki, a piece of pottery from the Middle Jomon period and today held in a museum in Niigata. It has been produced by Seto Hongyo, a pottery kiln in Seto City, Aichi Prefecture, boasting a history of 250 years.

The diner puts their Cup Noodle inside the cup-shaped ceramic vessel, which is inscribed with the Cup Noodle logo, and then place the decorative lid over the top, which also serves as a place to lay down your chopsticks. The elaborately crafted item also comes with a wooden gift box.

Before archaeology fans start getting too excited, however, Nissin and Seto Hongyo has only produced 15 of these items, so your chances of getting one are pretty slim. They also sell for nearly ¥60,000, so it’s not a cheap bowl of noodles, that’s for sure.

The National Treasure designation system started in 1897 and Nissin is helping celebrate its 120th anniversary with this promotion that brings together iconic items from postwar Japan and prehistorical Japan — respectively, Nissin’s Cup Noodle and Jomon pottery.

Friday, 8 November 2019

Some Southeast Asian history from 1000-500BC

Plain of Jars site in Laos
This is a post about Southeast Asian history from 1000-500BC. I am not an expert on this time period at all and there is much that is still unknown and being discovered by archaeologists, but the broad outlines of what I will describe here will hopefully be mostly correct. The dates presented here will be very broad estimates and may well be wildly off. This is a time before writing in this part of the world so the main sources will be entirely archaeological but I may make some references to later myths and legends.

For the purposes of this blog, Southeast Asia will be held to comprise the lands of Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, the archipelago of Indonesia and East Timor. There are strong reasons for including Taiwan and southern China within the remit of this piece, but these will be covered elsewhere I think.

From a linguistic perspective, the mainland of Southeast Asia was probably populated by speakers of Proto-Austroasiatic languages, which would later diverge to form language groups such as the Khmer and Vietic languages. The speakers of Austronesia languages had begun their epic migrations that would see their language family stretch from Madagascar to Easter Island. Other languages such as Tai languages group or the Lolo-Burmese portion of Sino-Tibetan were not yet much spoken in the region, as the speakers of these languages came in later migrations to the region. Agriculture had spread to nearly every part of Southeast Asia and bronze working was well known on the mainland, although it had perhaps not spread out to the island archipelagos of Indonesia and the Philippines just yet.

Plain of Jars site in Laos
At the beginning of this period, around the century of the 1000’s BC the Đồng Đậu culture in Vietnam had been replaced by the Gò Mun culture and the Dong Son culture. Further to the south of the Red River basin, in central and southern Vietnam, the Sa Huỳnh culture was beginning.

The Dong Son culture was a Bronze Age culture centred on the Red River Delta in Vietnam. They had used wet-rice agriculture to feed their people. Later Vietnamese chronicles speak of a semi-legendary Van Lang Dynasty that ruled the region around this time and far earlier. It is likely that the Van Lang are legendary, at least around this period. But it is also possible that in the following centuries that there was a kingdom called Van Lang. If this kingdom did exist, it was said to have an important citadel at Cổ Loa, where there is indeed a record of ancient settlement. As I say, I don’t want to credit the legends of the Van Lang too much, but I would not consider them entirely without foundation either.

Distribution of Dong Son drums
The Sa Huỳnh culture further to the south was another Bronze Age culture. This was situated closer to the northern shores of the Mekong Delta. They maintained an extensive trade network and seem to have had trade contacts with the Philippine Archipelago in later centuries, particularly trading for jade, which was precious throughout much of East Asia.

Around the century of the 800’s BC the Gò Mun culture seems to have come to an end. This was a culture in what is now northern Vietnam and either the people of the Gò Mun culture were conquered or assimilated into the Dong Son culture, or the material goods and cultural patterns of the Dong Son culture were perceived as superior and thus adopted by the Gò Mun culture.

Also around this time, the Xieng Khouang Plateau in Laos saw a trading society. This is interesting as it shows that trading networks were spreading into the interior regions, whereas the Sa Huỳnh and Dong Son appear to have been trading by sea.

Around the century of the 700’s BC wet rice cultivation had spread to the Indonesian Archipelago. Or more accurately, it had spread to certain areas thereof, particularly Java.

Dong Son drum
By around the century of the 600’s BC the Dong Son culture began to produce very finely worked drums in bronze. These drums were used by the chieftains and leaders of the Dong Son society and some very large drums have been found at their citadels and fortified sites. But many of these drums were also traded and many of them have found their way to other regions around Southeast Asia, where they were traded or given as gifts to high status individuals across the region.

Around the century of the 500's BC ironworking was beginning to be seen in Mandalay in what is now Burma. Iron-working had now begun to spread throughout much of the region, particularly the regions now referred to as Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. It is probable that iron-working was known in what is now the country of Vietnam, but considering that bronze-working was held in such high esteem by the cultures there, it may have delayed the onset of the Iron Age.

In what is now Laos, it is probable that the site known as the Plain of Jars began to be used. The Plain of Jars is an area on the Xieng Khouang Plateau that contains some enigmatic monuments. Great stone jars were placed across the plains. The jars were probably once lidded, but few lids survive. These megaliths, for they are carved out of single large stones, are not easy to date, as stone cannot be carbon-dated. It is suspected that these are connected in some ways with the trade routes through the region, but we cannot tell exactly who built the jars on the Plain of Jars, or why. They are perhaps one of the most fascinating megalithic sites in the world.

And thus the period draws to a close, with the beginning of the Iron Age in Southeast Asia, the long-distance Sa Huỳnh trading network, the elaborate bronze drums for the elites of the Dong Son, and the Plain of Jars for reasons that no one yet knows.

Dong Son drums
Related Blog Posts:
Some Southeast Asian history from 4000-2000BC
Some Southeast Asian history from 2000-1000BC
Some Southeast Asian history from 1000-500BC
The Plain of Jars


  1. Visit the Jomon people of stone age Japan
    Weave a basket, decorate a clay pot, own your own stone arrowhead, enjoy a tasty snack of chestnuts.
  2. Visit King Giligamesh in the first city in the world: Uruk
    Enjoy Sumerian mythology, bake cuneiform cookies, make a personal seal, learn about the art and history of Ancient Uruk.
  3. Tour the cities of Harappa and Mohenjo Daro in Ancient India
    Learn a ancient dice game, make beautiful bird calls using a 3,500 year old toy, discover the fun of henna tattoos, see the first unicorns in history.
  4. Enjoy Egypt at the time of the Pyramid of Giza
    Mummify an apple, decorate a sarcophagus, play the world’s first board game, read a 4000 year old Cinderella story, make an ancient dessert.
  5. Enjoy a sweet, six-legged snack with the Aboriginal people of Ancient Australia
    Decorate a returning boomerang, read an aboriginal creation story, mix paint from ancient pigments, recreate 40,000 year old cave art.
  6. Visit Hammurabi’s Court in Ancient Babylon
    Choose your own story as you explore Hammurabi’s code, make your own soap, create a cylinder seal.
  7. Meet the “heretic king” Ahkanaten and his son Tutankhamun in ancient Egypt
    Make a working sundial, paint a papyrus scroll, have fun with the Egyptian gods’ family tree.
  8. Enjoy daily life with the Israelites under King David’s rule
    Craft and light an olive oil lamp, blow a ram’s horn trumpet, learn the historic significance of cheese and then make some to enjoy.
  9. Meet the Olmec people of Ancient Mesoamerica
    Carve an animal out of soapstone, make a ceremonial mask, whip up some ancient hot chocolate, learn the world’s first organized sport.
  10. Sail to the merchant civilization of the Phoenicians
    Make papyrus, learn the art of dyeing fabric, write your name in an ancient script.
  11. Ride the steppes of Ancient Russia and Asia with the Scythians
    Sew a warm wool hat, learn the art of gold leaf, discover the origins on Amazon warriors and centaur monsters.
  12. Go on Campaign with Alexander the Great
    Watercolor Alexander’s empire, own your own action figure, find out why you’re glad we have modern medicine.
  13. Study with Plato in ancient Greece
    Learn the allegory of The Cave, construct a mobile with Plato’s geometric solids, enjoy stickers with some of Plato’s most quotable quotes.
  14. Meet the man whose change of heart brought peace to the Mauryan empire in Ancient India
    Make your own stick incense, decorate with rangoli stencils, own your own hand-carved wooden stamp, and read from Ashoka the Great’s writings.
  15. See the beginning of The Great Wall in Ancient China
    Paint a terracotta warrior, fly an ancient style of kite, relax with a cup of tea, make a magnetic compass.
  16. Find out why many people loved, and hated, Julius Caesar
    Listen to a perfectly abridged version of Shakespeare’s play, weave a laurel wreath, own your own replica Roman coin.
  17. Visit the Roman resort of Pompeii… just don’t stay for too long
    Learn to tile a mosaic, make a Roman wax tablet, explore the ancient graffiti of Pompeii, bake bread from a 2000 year old recipe, own your own volcanic rock
  18. Visit the richest kingdom in the ancient world: Ancient Ghana
    Practice the art of oral storytelling, weave on a circle loom, find out why salt was worth it’s weight in gold and then use it to preserve food.

Japan has had a complicated relationship with tattoos over its history. Unlike in most western countries where it’s simply considered a form of expression or drunkenly poor decisions, currently body art is generally looked down upon in Japanese society despite having some of the best artists and techniques in the world.

And yet most people in Japan are unaware that not too long ago, for a time during the Edo Period (1603-1868) the go-to form of punishment for non-violent crimes was a tattoo right in the center of your forehead.

Called a “tattoo penalty” (irezumi kei) it was handed down to perpetrators of relatively minor crimes like theft and burglary. It was classified as a type of “corporal punishment” along with caning.

Oftentimes the penalty was accompanied by expulsion from the area. It served as a deterrent both due to the pain of getting your face tattooed and being publicly displayed as a criminal for the rest of your life.

It also had a record keeping purpose. As you can see in the photos above and below, the style of tattoo was chosen by each region individually. This way people could also know what area the convict was sentenced.

Also in the bottom row of images we can see a sort of three-strikes policy in Hiroshima where each crime gets one stroke of the Chinese character for “large” (大). In most regions, if a tattooed person repeat-offends then the penalty is death.

Tattooing in Japan can be traced back to the Jomon and Yayoi periods (14,000 B.C. – 300 A.D.) when they were believed to hold a mystical significance. Afterwards the culture moved away from tattoos well until the Edo Period when it came back in a very different way.

No prisons existed in the Edo period until the development of large cities like Osaka and Edo (Tokyo) which lead to an increase in crime. Before then, amputation of the nose or ear was the punishment of the day.

In 1745, tattooing replaced amputation as society became gentler and less blood-thirsty. This continued over the years with the face tattoos changing to the less embarrassing – and quite fashionable by today’s standards – arm tattoo.

In 1872, the newly-established government of Japan abolished the tattoo penalty once and for all.

Oddly enough, right in the middle of all this around the early 1800s, body-art suddenly became all the rage with the common people of Japan. And with the number of people seen sports tats in the streets of Japan these days, we might be due for another come-back.

Sanja Matsuri: Tattoo Festival in Tokyo

Each year on the third week of May, Tokyo hosts Sanja Matsuri, a massive celebration set around the most iconic temple in the city, Sensoji. It&rsquos also one of the biggest showcases of tattoos in the nation.

During the festival celebrations, inked patrons proudly brandish their traditional Japanese style tattoos. Most of the tattoos you&rsquoll see cover large parts of the wearer&rsquos body, from the shoulders down to the ankles and knees. While these styles of tattoos are commonly associated with yakuza affiliates, this event is simply a showcase of the delicate artisanship that goes into these intricate designs.


Japanese culture has evolved greatly over the years, from the country's original Jomon culture to its contemporary hybrid culture, which combines influences from Asia, Europe, and North America. Traditional Japanese arts include crafts ( ikebana, origami, ukiyo-e, dolls, lacquerware, pottery), performances ( bunraku, dance, kabuki, noh, rakugo), traditions ( games, tea ceremony, budō, architecture, gardens, swords), and cuisine.

Post-war Japan has been heavily influenced by American and European culture which has led to the evolution of popular band music (called J-Pop). The fusion of traditional woodblock printing and Western art led to the creation of manga, a typically Japanese comic book format that is now popular in and even outside Japan. Manga-influenced animation for television and film is called anime. Video game consoles have prospered since the 1980s. The mascot of Nintendo, "Mario", is the most popular.


A basic, traditional Japanese meal consists of white Japanese rice with accompanying tsukemono pickles as appetizers a bowl of miso soupselected or combined seafood, meat, egg, and vegetable dishes known as okazu and green tea. In a traditional Japanese breakfast, for example, the okazu may be a grilled fish. Culturally, people start and finish meals with phrases of gratitude as itadakimasu and gochisōsama, respectively. Foods, beverages, and condiments from Japan, such as sushi, sashimi, ramen, sake, wasabi, sukiyaki and teriyaki are recognized worldwide.


Japanese music is eclectic, having borrowed instruments, scales and styles from neighboring cultures. Many instruments, such as the koto, were introduced in the ninth and tenth centuries. The accompanied recitative of the Noh drama dates from the fourteenth century and the popular folk music, with the guitarlike shamisen, from the 16th.

Western music, introduced in the late nineteenth century, now forms an integral part of the culture, as evident from the profusion of J-Pop artists. Modern Japanese music uses western instruments, scales and style.


The earliest works include two history books the Kojiki and the Nihon Shoki, and a poetry book Man'yōshū in the eighth century, all written in Chinese characters. In the early days of the Heian period, the system of transcription known as kana ( Hiragana and Katakana) was created as phonograms. The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter is considered the oldest Japanese narrative. An account of Heian court life is given by The Pillow Book, written by Sei Shōnagon while The Tale of Genji by Lady Murasaki is sometimes called the world's first novel.

During the Edo Period, literature became not so much the field of the samurai aristocracy as that of the chōnin, the ordinary people. Yomihon, for example, became popular and reveals this profound change in the readership and authorship.

The Meiji era saw the decline of traditional literary forms, during which Japanese literature integrated western influences. Natsume Sōseki and Mori Ōgai were the first "modern" novelists of Japan, followed by Akutagawa Ryūnosuke, Tanizaki Jun'ichirō, Kawabata Yasunari, Mishima Yukio, and more recently, Murakami Haruki. Japan has two Nobel prize winning authors &mdash Kawabata Yasunari (1968) and ᓎ Kenzaburō (1994).

Sports and recreation

Beginning in the twelfth century, Japan developed traditional martial arts known as budō, which were popular among the warrior class. These include judo, karate and kendō. Sumo is sometimes considered Japan's national sport and is one of its most popular.

After the Meiji Restoration, many western sports were introduced and began to spread through the education system. These sports were initially stressed as a form of mental discipline, but Japanese have now come to enjoy them as recreational activities.

Baseball is the most popular ball game in Japan - the professional baseball league in Japan was established in 1937. One of Japan's most famous baseball players in major league baseball is Suzuki Ichiro, who won a Gold Glove. Concerning football, the professional soccer league in Japan was established in 1992. Japan was a venue of the Intercontinental Cup from 1981 to 2004, and Japan co-hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup with South Korea. Golf is popular in Japan, as is auto racing, the Super GT sports car series and Formula Nippon formula racing.

Each year, Japan observes the second Monday in October as Health and Sports Day. The date, originally October 10, commemorates the opening day of the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Other major sporting events that Japan has hosted include the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo and the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano.

Adding New Ideas to Ceramics



More than 1300 years of history, one of Japan's leading ceramic production areas

We started selling sake cups as "Marui Shoten" in 1887 in Gifu Prefecture, a major producer of Mino Wares, which has a history of over 1,300 years.

It has been more than 130 years since the company was founded.

In fact, about half of the ceramics produced in Japan are Mino Wares.

When the 125th Emperor came to the throne, we delivered the tableware to the Imperial Household Agency.

We are proud of our craftsmen's high level of skill.

Up to now, we have produced many products for the hotel and restaurant industry.

Masaharu Takagi, our fifth president, has been promoting Japanese pottery around the world.

We want to express the splendor of Japan's four seasons, which we rediscovered through our experience, in a completely different way.

This is why we developed the Warm and Cool series.


Cherry blossoms and fireworks emerge

The point we were most concerned about and struggled with was "coloration".

First, we developed a product that beautifully reflects the cherry blossoms and fireworks.

The color of the cool series changes when the temperature is below 17 degrees Celsius and the warm series when the temperature is above 45 degrees Celsius.

Special paints are mixed and fired in a special kiln.

We fired prototypes over and over again and experimented with them until we saw the ideal color change.

At temperatures close to the change point, there is a slight change.

At cooler and hotter temperatures, the color changes to a more distinct color.

For Customers

Japanese Culture Makes Dining Fun

The history of Japanese pottery, which began as far back as 15,000 years ago with Jomon pottery

Throughout its history, pottery has evolved into various shapes, sizes and colors depending on its use.

Can we create a new innovation in the history of such pottery?

The change in temperature makes Japanese culture, such as cherry blossoms and fireworks, emerge in vivid colors.

Pour your favorite drink and enjoy the change in design.


1990 Tableware goes to the emperor's house

2020 Introduces design-changing glass


Manufacturer MARUMO TAKAGI
Country of origin Gifu Prefecture, Japan
Technique Mino Wares
Material Ceramics
Size (About) W2.76 * D2.76 * H3.54 in. (Φ7.0*H9.0cm)
Weight 0.49 lbs(220g)
Capacity 0 oz(ml)
Electronic Equipment Microwave oven : X Dishwashing machine : X Direct fire : X IH : X Oven : X,
Note To prevent color fading, do not expose to direct sunlight for a long time. Do not use scrubbers or abrasives.
Delivery Time 1-2 weeks (if out of stock + 1-2 weeks) *The delivery time may be extended due to COVID-19.


Available to all over the world (EMS or FedEx)


100% compensation for damage during delivery


Safe payment using VISA, Master Card, American Express, Paypal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Shop Pay