The oldest period in the development of Japanese culture is the Dzemon (“trail of rope”). It began around the fourth millennium BC, and lasted until the first millennium BC. The very name Dzemon was associated with the widespread use of ritual clay pots during this period, the pattern on which was applied using a rope that burned during firing, and left a characteristic trace.
These decorative indentations on the ceramics gave it mobility when exposed to sunlight. Gradually, these patterns, stylized as mountain peaks, sea waves and lightning zigzags, were replaced by more emotional images: human faces and animal faces, writhing snakes and dragons. In addition to ceramic products, during the Dzemon period, figurines of fertility goddesses were made. They were made of clay, had huge eyes. Figures with a triangular torso and a huge head were carved out of stone.
In the 5th century BC, new tribes moved to the territory of Japan. They were rice farmers. With their arrival, a new culture arose – Yayoi. Since the new agricultural tribes worshiped the deities of fertility, they began to erect special temples-barns, cast cult bells covered with magical symbols from bronze, and conduct ritual rituals.
The barn temple was considered the dwelling of the goddess of fertility, and was vital for storing grain, in conditions of frequent earthquakes and strong winds. It was a rectangular wooden building, raised on pillars and surrounded by a small gallery. The barn had a massive roof made of pressed cypress. The walls of the building were deaf and powerful. Only the senior priest, who was the emperor, had the right to enter inside. In front of the barn-temple there was a spacious courtyard where ritual ceremonies were held related to the legend of Ninigi, who descended from the sky and brought people the first rice ear plucked from the sacred fields.