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Unearthed Articles from Nonaka Kofun Owned by Osaka University Designated as Important Cultural Assets


野中古墳から出土した甲冑  On Friday, March 13, the Council for Cultural Affairs recommended the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology to designate unearthed articles from Nonaka Kofun owned by Osaka University as Important Cultural Assets.
  Following Tekijuku, former OGATA Koan's residence designated as an Important Cultural Asset (architecture) in 1964, these unearthened articles from Nonaka Kofun were our second Important Cultural Assets and our first fine arts and crafts designated as Important Cultural Assets.

  Nonaka Kofun is a square-shaped ancient tomb (37m on one side) made in the first half of the 5th century. It is located in Fujiidera, Osaka, and is the part of Furuichi Kofungun [group of ancient tomb] in the southeast part of Hirano in Osaka. Nonaka Kofun is also a part of Mozu & Furuichi Kofun-gun which was listed on the Tentative List of World Cultural Heritage sites in 2010.

Osaka University's Involvement in Nonaka Kofun

  Osaka University's School of Letters started to excavate Nonaka Kofun in 1964 and since then, a number of articles made by advanced technologies the 5th century were unearthed. The number of unearthed articles ranked 2nd in Japan. The articles included iron weapons such as 11 sets of iron armor, 153 iron swords, iron farming tools, as well as pottery such as small handled-pots.
  Particularly remarkable of these articles are 3 iron articles named "short armor with a collar," which are special armors of only 15 sets excavated from 9 Kofun nationwide,  including those excavated in Nonaka Kofun.
  In addition, leather keeled helmets and gilt bronze ornament for helmets used in combination with these weapons are especially hard-to-find items; the latter is the only one excavated in Japan.
   Pottery made in the watershed areas of the Nakdong River in the south part of the Korean Peninsula is very important as a proof of exchange between Japan and that area, an iron supplier at that time.
  These unearthed articles from Nonaka Kofun, including rare armors, can provide a clue as to the actual condition of the largest kofun-gun in Japan, Furuichi Kofun-gun. They also have a great academic value internationally as materials demonstrating the military organization of the royal power, its diplomatic relationship, and metal processing technologies in the 5th century.
  Osaka University's Graduate School of Letters, with the help of a grant from the Agency for Cultural Affairs, has been involved in conservation treatment of unearthened armors from Nonaka Kofun. It also held the exhibition "Nonaka Kofun and the Era of Five Kings of Wa" at the Museum of Osaka University in February and March in 2014. In this way, Osaka University has progressed with studies of and promoted the use of unearthed articles.

Excavated armors
Nonaka Kofun and Furuichi Kofungun


Future efforts

  Following the designation, we will continue to preserve the materials and actively work for studies and usage. We hope that our efforts will assist in putting the Mozu & Furuichi Kofun-gun on the List of World Cultural Heritage sites.

Related publications

For more information about, contact:

Archaeology Laboratory, Graduate School of Letters, Osaka University
Tel/Fax: 06-6850-5106

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