20th Century, Traditional Ainu, Japanese, Terracotta, Male figurine/statue. The Ainu are an indigenous ethnic group of people who live in Hokkaido in Japan as well as in Russia. The term Ainu generally referred to the fair-skinned, long-haired hunter-gatherer-fisher people with animistic beliefs who had lived in Japan for hundreds of years prior to the waves of Japanese settlers who began crowding them out and pushing them northwards. In the 19th Century, Japanese people called the northern island of Hokkaido “Ezochi,” which means “Land of the Ainu”. In 1899, the Japanese government passed an act which labeled the Ainu “former Aborigines,” ostensibly declaring that the Ainu had been integrated into the Japanese population. That act, together with the various assimilation policies, had the profound effect of eroding Ainu identity and traditions. It wasn’t until 2008 that the Japanese government passed a resolution that, for the first time, formally recognized the Ainu as “an indigenous people who have their own language, religion and culture.” Today only small numbers of Ainu remain, and they constitute one of Japan’s most marginalized groups. Our handsome, male, Ainu figurine features a stylized, terracotta head as well as legs, feet, and hands that have hand-painted, life-like details. All have been affixed to a wooden torso and offer some flexibility of movement. He is dressed in traditional Ainu garb rendered in beige burlap and that has been painted with geometric designs along the collar, cuffs, lower register and legs. A sash has been neatly tied across his waist, which is also flanked with a knife holder/knife (also made of terracotta and painted). A stylized, terracotta fish featuring hand-painted details hangs from twine within his left hand. A wooden, scalloped base serves as a holder for display. Please note, this figurine shows signs of wear commensurate with age including minor chips to the paint. Additionally, a fingertip on his left hand has been repaired. See photos for more details!


Dimensions: 9.75” x 4.25” (figurine); 10.5” x 4.5” (figurine with base)



20th Century Traditional Ainu Japanese Terracotta Male Figurine Statue

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