Standing Female Maker: Unknown

6th century c.e.

Asian Art

On view, 2nd floor, Asian Art

Haniwa (ring of clay) statues are unglazed earthenware sculptures that were made between the third and the sixth century C.E., primarily to protect grave mounds from erosion or to mark burial sites. Though they originally took the form of simple cylinders, by the fourth century haniwa also included human figures, animals, and occasionally architectural structures. This example includes a female figure sculpted on the top of the typical haniwa cylinder, which would be buried in the ground. She has two looped bows on her dress and one remaining earring on the left side of her head. The round clay pieces attached to her neckline appear to be remnants of a necklace, suggesting that she represents a shrine maiden known as a miko. Figures of such maidens were the most popular haniwa sculptures, due to the status of the maidens in Japan at that time.


Haniwa: reddish earthenware


35 × 10 1/2 × 8 in. (88.9 × 26.7 × 20.3 cm)
base: 7/8 × 11 1/4 × 8 1/2 in. (2.2 × 28.5 × 21.6 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Rosemarie and Leighton R. Longhi, B.A. 1967

Accession Number



Kofun period (ca. 300–ca. 710 C.E.)


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



Leighton R. Longhi and Rosemarie Longhi, New York; given to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 2009
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