09/01/18 | My Travel Log : Aomori Museum

When I joined the late Samuel J. Lurie to write Fired with Passion book, I had yet to visit the Jomon excavation site in Aomori, Japan. Luckily there were objects of Jomon in various museums, and we did our research from mountains of books before Google time. I made a point to stop at Aomori on my trip from Hokkaido to Tokyo this month. How can a Japanese ceramic aficionado not to see Jomon pots in her (his) own eyes ?!   It is my silent tribute to Sam as well, as he was a dedicated, avid collector in numerous fields where he often left no stone unturned. The generosity and curiosity of American collectors like Sam have popularized Japanese ceramics and culture throughout the world. I believe Sam would be happy that I made this trip to see Jomon pots in Aomori. 


The San nai  maruyama excavation site is a twenty-minute bus ride from Aomori station, and the Jomon 資料館 and Aomori art museums are also on this lush green compound.  The Jomon 資料館displays many shards and prehistoric articles, astounding the visitors with ancient wisdom and life styles from 5000 BC - 2200 BC.  


Archaeologists have to painstakingly and magically match different rope patterns (there are at least ninety rope patterns)and clay color ( clays were divided to dirt, the fire pits shards and the broken pots shards)  to restore Jomon pots. Now there are many restored examples on view, there are pots used for cooking, storage, and burials.  


My jaw dropped when I came upon small flat clay figurines, as they are vivid, humorous and expressive. Some eyes seem to be hunting with hollow holes, while others beam with happiness. Although we don’t know where these prehistoric humans came from, whether they are Siberian or native Ainu, they certainly had a abundant and hard life in this blessed green land.  


Next time when you go to Japan, please travel beyond Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, the lands afar won’t disappoint you, I promise. 

C.S. Jiang