Haniwa sculptures of military and civilian figures were often assembled around burial mounds by the end of the 6th century in Japan. These figures were made of unglazed terra cotta and were believed to serve the deceased in the afterlife. This Haniwa Warrior is shown reaching for his sword. The geometric simplicity of the figure’s taut pose alludes to the rigid, military system of discipline that governed Japanese society during the Kofun period (AD 300–645). His face is covered with red paint. The same pigment also appears on his armor. This color was meant to protect the clay figure from coming into contact with the spirit of the deceased. The warrior has hollow eyes and is simply constructed because haniwa figures needed to be completed quickly and were usually manufactured in bulk.

Cataloguing data may change with further research.

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Haniwa Warrior
late 6th century
Red earthenware
27 × 14 1/2 × 13 1/2 in. (68.6 × 36.8 × 34.3 cm)
Credit Line

Museum purchase funded by the Agnes Cullen Arnold Endowment Fund and the McAshan Educational and Charitable Trust

Current Location
Not on view
Accession Number

Research ongoing