Todateishi Dogu, Ibaraki Prefecture
Todateishi Dogu, Ibaraki Prefecture
Todateishi Dogu, Ibaraki Prefecture
Todateishi Dogu, Ibaraki Prefecture
Todateishi Dogu, Ibaraki Prefecture
Todateishi Dogu, Ibaraki Prefecture
Todateishi Dogu, Ibaraki Prefecture
Todateishi Dogu, Ibaraki Prefecture
Todateishi Dogu, Ibaraki Prefecture
Todateishi Dogu, Ibaraki Prefecture

Todateishi Dogu, Ibaraki Prefecture

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 She appears to call to us from a time long gone, but what her message is, well, that is up to interpretation.

This replica is inspired by a figure from the Late Jomon (1500BC-100BC), a time of revival for Dogu figures. The end of the middle Jomon saw a break in the production of Dogu, and it was not until the late Jomon that the tradition returned when the centre shifted to the Tohoku region of northern Honshu. This period also saw the appearance of new forms of Dogu being crafted in the Kanto region, among which are those with a distinctive cylindrical shape (tsutsugata-dogu). This Dogu replica is based on one of these new cylindrical forms found at Todateishi.

Female attributes were emphasised on the dogu up to the end of the middle Jomon, but from the late Jomon, only the breasts remained. This appears to reflect a change in how Jomon people saw dogu after the Late Jomon revival. Perhaps rather than representing individual women, these new Dogu were seen as spirits, supernatural beings undifferentiated by sex.

We made this fabulous figure as part of our work with the new Circle of Stones Exhibition, which is now on show at the Stonehenge visitors centre. The exhibition is set in the prehistoric British landscape and allows visitors to enjoy some exquisite objects from Prehistoric Japan. It is the bringing together of two influential Prehistoric cultures in one space. 

Limited Edition* - There are only two of these beauties available. 


Late Jomon (1500BC-1000BC)


Smoke fired Terracotta


Approx. - Height 170 mm, diameter 100 mm

General History

The roots of ceramic culture reach deep into Japan's ancient past, with the first ceramic vessels being hand formed by skilled hands around 14,000 years ago at the start of the Jomon period. This ancient cultural blossoming saw the creation of thousands and thousands of mind-blowingly beautiful objects in the form of Flame Pots and Dogu figures. It continued until sometime over 2000 years ago when the advent of rice agriculture and metalworking heralded the beginning of a new phase in Japan's history. 

What are Dogu figures? 

The written characters that make up the Japanese word Dogu mean "earth" and "spirit" or "Soil" and "Doll", depending upon who you ask, and they make up a fascinating collection of ancient ceramic figures that are most famous for representing the human form. More specifically, they are thought to predominantly represent female figures, although there are a few examples of Dogu being made in the form of animals and even plants.   

What is so appealing about Dogu is that they represent a state of self-awareness within the ancient people that crafted them and this sense of self appeals to our modern sense of self. People love to connect and relate with other people.  

What were Dogu used for? 

The question of use may well be the most compelling of all the questions relating to Dogu figures and one to which it is unlikely we will ever have a clear answer. What we know about Dogu is that they have been found in large numbers and often in fragmented states that suggest they had been deliberately broken.  

Archaeologists have found Dogu figures in houses, burials and middens from dates that span the vast expanse of the Jomon period; the number of Dogu figures recorded to date is 18,000.  

What was life like in the Jomon era? 

Jomon enthusiasts widely believe that the Jomon period was a time of abundance when people lived in harmony with nature, hunted and gathered food from the rich forests that made up their home. With all their needs attended to, it is said that they lived in unanimity with one another. In fact, Japan is thought to have enjoyed an unusually high population density during this period, seeing population numbers that were exceptional for a culture that had not yet seen the advent of agriculture. 

What is the Circle of Stones Exhibition at Stonehenge? 

The replicas we have handcrafted for this collection were made as part of our work for the Circles of Stone: Stonehenge and Prehistoric Japan exhibition. The new exhibition celebrates the culture of Prehistoric Japan through a stunning collection of objects from some of Japan's most exciting prehistoric sites. The display will walk you through the story of Japanese settlements, their incredible stone circles and the beauty of the middle and late Jomon craftsmanship. A period of time that was roughly the same time as the building of Stonehenge, two separate cultures leaving an indelible mark on this world. 

Many thanks to Susan Greaney and Simon Kaner for their help in facilitating our visit to see the flame pots at the British Museum and for providing us with additional information throughout the project. 


Completely hand-built from clays similar to that used by the original potters, this vessel has been fired in a wood fire to emulate the original's surface colouration. When there is evidence of potters' tool use, I have replicated such tools using stone, wood, shell, bone, and antler, based on information gained from marks on original artefacts.


We have fired this figure to emulate the ancient firing conditions. The original pot was fired in an open wood fire, in close contact with the fuel, a process that leaves its mark on the clay as variations in the surface colour. However, the low temperatures achieved in open firings also result in relatively weak ceramics, so this figure has been fired to a somewhat higher temperature to strengthen it, in a unique firing process that allows me to achieve an authentic appearance to the pot.


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* Limit Edition items we make in very small numbers each year for public sale.  The numbers made per year will generally be five or fewer.  


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Don't take our word for it

Hello Graham and Sarah, I wanted to message because I ordered your holy grail pot for my dad's birthday and he is over the moon with it.

Rachel Frankish

Many thanks again for all of the pottery - this will help bring our new Heritage learning programme to life!

Nottingham University Museum

I love it! I love everything about it, what it represents, why you made it and the history behind it. It was worth the wait! Thank you so much.

Gillian Castle