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Furusato Bunka Denshokan

Minami Alps-Shi

All across the nation, most of the dogū relics you may find are inevitably static. Most, unable to stand on their own while displaying the image of motionlessness. However, many of the dogū in Yamanashi are quite different. Especially, Lavie-chan “the Goddess of Child Blessing,” a quite remarkable artifact currently hosted at the Minami Alps Furusato Bunka Denshoukan.

The hunter gathering Jomon people had life hard. Although living conditions were much better than that of the pre-historic peoples that roamed the earth amid a severe ice age. Nevertheless the Jomon still endured their own challenges and perhaps one of the biggest hurdles for them to conquer was childbirth. With none of the modern conveniences such as hospitals and antibiotics, it is said that only 50% of Jomon children were able to survive childbirth. And on top of that, for those who did survive birth-- most died later on before the age of ten.

Because of these reasons, Jomon people were filled with the strong desire for life and often embedded this desire in their doki and dogū relics. For example, most dogū relics have pointed noses. Many believe that the faces of these relics are to depict children while the connected bodies which look like adults were to show the mother. Combining these two features was possible one way of showing the circle of life, from mother to child in one piece of work.

Lavie-chan is incredibly unique in many ways, one being that she is a non-static depiction of a pregnant mother. Her right hand is rested on top of her stomach while her left hand is against her back. This depicts the motion of a mother cradling the baby in her stomach while massaging her back due to the burden on her back.

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While across the world and in particularly Europe there are many ancient relics such as the Venus of Willendorf (Austria), depict women and fertility in entirely static and over exaggerated ways (large sagging breasts, and defined buttocks and other features, but usually lacks a face). But Lavie-chan is so very different, although her stomach is exaggerated it actually depicts a pregnant woman rather fertility through impregnatable features as often found in the west. For this very reason, out of all the Jomon relics in prefecture it is said that Lavie-chan has visited the most museums across the world.  Lavie-chan is more than just a treasure to Yamanashi and Japan, but to the world as well.

To learn more about Lavie-chan and the other amazing pieces in the Furusato Bunka Denshokan head your way to Minami-Alps and hear more amazing details from their inspiring Museum Curators today.

 

 

Getting there: 2727 Yagoshima, Minami-Alps Yamanashi 400-0205

Take the bus bound for Ashiyasu from the Kofu Sta. Yamanashi Kotsu bus terminal and get off at the "Yagoshima" bus stop. Walk 10mins.

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Published on

  • February 15, 2021

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