The origin and development of the earring in the shape of Ketsu in East Asia
(Nagano Prefectural Center for Archaeological Operations)
The earring in the shape of ketsu (jue in Chinese; bodily ornament for aristocrats) belonging to the Jomon Culture, which is considered unique to the Japanese Archipelago, has long been compared with the jade jue from the Chinese continent, but opinions have been equally divided regarding whether the two objects are related or not. It is now difficult to solve the problem by studying the ketsu-shaped earring alone; they should be considered as part of sets of various bodily ornaments made of stone, because the stone pieces in these sets appear to have been produced, distributed and changed influencing each other.
In this article I studies stone bodily ornaments from the time of emergence of the ketsu-shaped earring, around the late Initial to the Early Jomon period. It became apparent that the kuda-tama bead and the ketsu-shaped earring emerged at the same time and were distributed together, but were not always so when they were buried. Further, I point out the possibility the spatula-shaped pendant ornament also existed around this time.
Comparisons of the Japanese sets of stone bodily ornaments with stone objects in regions around Japan that they bear striking resemblance in the shape and combinations in a set to the jade pieces from Cha(Zha)hai site, Liaoning province, China and Chyortovy Vorota cave, Primorskii state, Russia. Their physical and chemical dating also suggests possibilities that the Japanese stone ornaments derived from or at least, are related to them.
1 Classification and Chronology of stone ornaments in Japan
The ketsu-shaped earring mainly belongs to the Jomon period from the late Initial to the early Middle phase (Jomon period is divided to six phases; Incipient, Initial, Early, Middle, Late and Final). The late Initial to the early Middle phase of Jomon period is about 6300~4900 years B.P. by C14 year depending on 5568 year. Around this time with the ketsu-shaped earring there are some other kind ornaments, bead, pendants and so on. Each type of ornaments is transformed as fellows (picture 1 and 4).
In Japan the oldest type is in the final stage of the Initial Jomon period. There are some sites in this stage, for example Kamihamada site in Kanagawa prefecture (picture 2), Kuwano site in Fukui prefecture (picture3), Kagota site in Nagano prefecture (picture 4), and Kitajukunishi site in Saitama prefecture (picture 4).
The stone ornaments set of 1st stage of the Early Jomon period exists in Akyu site in Nagano prefecture (picture 1) and Gokurakuji site in Toyama prefecture (picture 4).
The stone ornaments set of from the 2nd to the 4th stage of the Early Jomon period exists in Otomodaira site in Nagano prefecture (picture 1) and Negoyadai site in Tochigi prefecture (picture 4).
The stone ornaments set of from the 5th stage of the Early Jomon period to the 1st stage of the Middle Jomon period exists in Kurawa site in Hachijojima island of Tokyo(picture 4) and Matsubara site in Nagano prefecture (picture 1).
2 Comparison of the ketsu-shaped earring and other bodily ornaments in Japan with the outside of Japan
At first I think if the ketsu-shaped earring had come to Japan from the outside of Japan, the oldest type of the ketsu-shaped earring in Japan is the most similar to the ketsu-shaped earring of the outside of Japan.
At second I think if the ketsu-shaped earring had come to Japan from the outside of Japan, with the ketsu-shaped earring the other bodily ornaments maybe had come to Japan. So I research and study the other bodily ornaments with the ketsu-shaped earring.
(1)Jiangnan district of China (Lower reacheres of the Zhangjian river) (picture 5)
Fujita Fujio (Japan) and An Zhimin (China) thought the ketsu-shaped earring in Japan had come from the Southeastern China. Fujita pointed out the oldest type of the ketsu-shaped earring just like the Gokurakuji site in Toyama is very similar to the ketsu-shaped earring of Hemudu site in Zhejiang province. And An thought some cultural elements, the lacquered ware, the pottery including the fiber and the ketsu-shaped earring had come to Japan from Jiangnan district of Southeastern China.
There are a lot of the jade bodily ornaments in Neolithic culture of Jiangnan district. For examples the oldest type of ketsu-shaped earring and other bodily jade ornaments exist in Weidun site in Jiangsu province and Hemudu site in Zhejiang province.
(2)Northeastern district of China (Valley of the Liaohe river) (picture 6)
Recently I notice the oldest Neolithic culture existed in northeastern China. It is called Xinlongwa culture. Until 10years ago in China the oldest Jade is the article of Hemudu culture (8000~7000 years B.P.). But after excavation of Zhahai site belonging to Xinlongwa culture its bodily jade ornaments (including ketsu-shaped earring) is one of the oldest jade ornaments in Asia.
Now we can find the ketsu-shaped earring from Jade at Xinbaoleng site and Xinglongwa site with Zhahai site. They are belonging to the Xinlongwa culture too.
The Xinlongwa culture is as old as the Hemudu culture. And The Xinglongwa culture has the spatula-shaped pendant and kudatama-beads with the ketsu-shaped earrings.
(3)Huabei district of China (Middle reaches of the Huanghe river) (picture 7)
Yangshao culture is the Neolithic culture in the middle reaches of the Huanhe River. Its culture has some jade ornaments just like pendants. But In Yangshao culture the jade ornaments are rear. Many bodily ornaments are made from bones.
(4)The valley of the Amur (Heilongjiang) river in China (picture 8)
In this area the old Neolithic ornaments is not well known. Xiannanshan site (Xinkairyu culture) is the oldest Neolithic culture site. Xinkairyu culture is thought about 5000years B.P. and it is newer than Xinglonwa and Hemude. But Xinkairyu culture has ketsu-shaped earring and the spatula shaped pendant, too.
(5)Primorskii state and the valley of the Amur River in Russia (picture 9)
In this area Rudonin culture and Boisman culture are the old Neolithic culture. Chyortovy Vorota cave is the representative site of Rudonin culture. In this site the ketsu-shaped earring, the spatula-shaped pendant and kudatama-bead is excavated. They belong to Rudonin culture. The date of Chyortovy Vorota cave is about 7000~6000years B.P. Without Chortovy Vorota cave in some Neolithic sites of Amur net pottery culture the spatula-shaped pendants exist too.
(6)Korean peninsula (picture 10 and 11)
In this area the old Neolithic jade ornaments are rear. In Southern Korea the jade necklace is excavated in Beombang shell mound in Pusan and the ketsu-shaped earring exists in Sachorri site in Kyeongsangnamdo province. But they are newer than the early period of the Jomon culture. So I can not think they are origin of jade ornaments of Japan.
The spatula-shaped pendants are excavated in the Neolithic tombs of Hubori site in Kyeongbukdo province. This site is not discovered any potteries. So I can not know age of this site and these ornaments exactly.
3 The origin of the ketsu-shaped earring and its set in Japanese islands (picture 12 and 13)
The initial stage of ketsu-shaped earrings mainly exists in 4 areas. They are Jiangnan district of China, Northeastern district of China, Primorskii state and the valley of the Amur River and Japanese islands. The initial stage is about B.P. 6000~8000 years. In this stage ketsu (jue)-shaped earring's style is very similar each other in Asia. I think they have some relations each other.
But in the other jade pendants with the ketsu-shaped earring in this 4 area there are similar types and different ones. One of the former types is long bead just like kudatama. The beads are very popular pendants in these 4 areas. This means relationship of 4 areas too.
If the ketsu-shaped earring and its other ornaments set came from outside of Japan, the oldest type of ketsu-shaped earring and its ornaments set should be very similar to ones of the area where the ketsu-shaped earring and its ornaments set came from.
The ketsu-shaped earring, the long beads just like kudatama and the spatula-shaped pendant are the oldest jade ornament set in Japan. The ketsu-shaped earring and the long beads are popular in East Asia.
But the spatula-shaped pendants exist in North-eastern district of China, Primorskii state and the valley of the Amur River and Japanese islands. So now I think the origin of the ketsu-shaped earring and its ornaments set is North-eastern district of China and its jade culture went by way of Primorskii state and the valley of the Amur River.
*the 6th young historian conference of Far East at the Institute of History, Archaeology, Ethnography of thePeoples of the Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences in Vladivostok in 6th of April, 2000.