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Interesting Archeology Column
No.20 What did the Jomon people wear?
Tsunan Town Board of Education Nobuyuki Sato

What did the Jomon people wear?

There is an example of an archaeological excavation on housing and food in the Jomon period in “clothing, food and housing” that is the minimum necessary for modern daily life, but “clothing” is not understood as much as “food and housing”. .. “Hmm.
The reason is that I couldn’t find the Jomon clothes.

Unfortunately, there are no cases where Jomon people are properly dressed.
In Japan, where the soil is acidic and hot and humid, organic matter such as fur and plant substances that are thought to have been used for clothing is unlikely to remain. Shells and bones remain in shell mounds, but organic matter remains only in submerged ruins such as lowlands.
However, the Jomon people may have been dressed in terms of clay figurine patterns, slightly excavated plant fibers, and cold and body protection.

So what kind of clothes did you wear?
The main character of the manga / anime “First Human Giatrus” wears something like fur, but “Iceman” in the mountains of the European Alps also wears fur. .. This “Iceman” was discovered by a Neolithic man about 5300 years ago, dressed in fur and frozen with a semi-finished bow and arrow and a metal ax.

5300 years ago, flame-shaped pottery was made in the middle of the Jomon period. It is not possible to combine the Jomon people with the “Iceman”, but fur may have been used as wild boars, deer, bears, hares, etc. were hunted.
The use of fur continues to this day. A bear hunter from Matagi, Akita, went hunting in snowy mountains such as Okuyamamon, Yunoya, and Akiyamago in Murakami City with clothes, gloves, and leather shoes such as antelopes. It is still used in the form of “fur” as winter clothes for coats and other collars.

In addition to fur, there are other things that can be used as clothing, such as bark, vines, and plant fibers made from plants. We assume clothing made of plant fibers, but the clothing itself has never been excavated, but there may be rugs left on the bottom of cloth or earthenware made with “knitting” techniques.
In Niigata prefecture, cloth made of lacquer may be excavated. Also, on the bottom of asphalt and pottery, materials that have a “mojiri-knit” texture have been dug out.
This knit is called a “knit” and is different from the “woven fabric” woven on a loom. There is no doubt that the “knitted cloth” of the Jomon period was used as one of the clothes.

In folklore, “knitted cloth” is called “angin”, which takes the fibers of the stems of plants with ramie or red spots and twists them into threads.
This “angin” is worn as the clothing of a landowner’s monk, and the book “Kiyoshi Akiyama” from the Edo period also depicts “angin” wearing a kimono. Tsunan Town first discovered this folk craft “Angin” and clarified how to knit it.

This “angin” can be said to be one of the clothes used by the Jomon people dating back to the Jomon period.
However, the knitting method is slightly different between the folk song “Angin” and the Jomon period “knitted cloth”. The folk craft “Angin” has a rough texture, and the warp is woven by skipping one stitch against the weft, but the “knitted fabric” of the Kamimon era is very fine, and the warp and weft are woven alternately. It is thought that it was closer to “woven cloth” and had a function as clothing.