1000’s of years in the past—and 1000’s of miles aside—the folks of what at the moment are Britain and Japan each created elaborate stone circles set as much as work together with the solstices and to accommodate stays of the useless.
A brand new exhibition at Stonehenge highlights compelling parallels between English and Japanese cultures in the course of the Neolithic and Jōmon eras. Although they by no means interacted with one another, the 2 cultures appeared to have shared so much in widespread—from stone circles to elaborate pottery to rituals linked to the solar.
“Circles of Stone: Stonehenge and Prehistoric Japan,” which opens right now, explores these similarities by means of some 80 gadgets from the Japanese Jōmon interval, a lot of which have by no means earlier than been on view outdoors Japan.
“To know the importance of Stonehenge, now we have to grasp what is occurring elsewhere on the earth in prehistory,” Susan Greaney, a historian with English Heritage and a curator for the exhibition, tells the Guardian’s Steven Morris. “Though there was clearly no contact between Japan and Britain right now, there are stunning parallels.”
Take into account, for instance, the Japanese stone circles from Ōyu and Isedotai in northern Japan. Whereas not the imposing monoliths of Stonehenge, the 2 circles, fabricated from 1000’s of easy river stones, line up with the solar in the course of the summer season and winter solstices, and so they have been each utilized in burial rites. And for each monuments, accumulating supplies and finishing development would have taken monumental group effort.
“After all they couldn’t probably have any thought what one another was doing,” Martin Allfrey, senior curator for English Heritage, tells the Guardian. “However it’s tantalizing to have a look at what these extraordinary objects from Japan inform us concerning the similarities between these communities who have been maybe ideologically nearer than one may think. Exploring what is occurring elsewhere within the prehistoric world is vital to understanding the importance of Stonehenge.”
The similarities is also associated to topography: Japan and the UK are alongside the identical latitude, sharing an identical local weather and entry to pure assets. However whereas the Neolithic folks dwelling close to Stonehenge have been farmers, the folks of the Jōmon interval establishing stone circles in northern Japan have been fishers and hunter-gatherers.
The Salisbury exhibition can even show gadgets discovered at Ōyu and Isedotai which might be distinctive to Japanese tradition, akin to clay mushroom sculptures, maybe suggesting an curiosity “within the mind-altering properties of fungi,” and clay collectible figurines known as dogū, which could have been used for fertility and therapeutic rituals, per the Guardian.
Additionally on show is a clay cooking pot, which was hand-sculpted to imitate flames and sure used to cook dinner fish stew. “Think about sitting across the fire as a meal bubbled away on this,” says Simon Kaner, govt director of the Sainsbury Institute for the Examine of Japanese Arts and Cultures, to the Guardian. “It will need to have forged essentially the most extraordinary shadows.”
“Circles of Stone: Stonehenge and Prehistoric Japan” is on view at Stonehenge by means of August 2023.
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