About this artwork
This wrestler or rikishi is wearing a simple headband and a wrestler’s harness. He stands solidly on two feet, with a hand on his hip and the other raised to show his strength. His chest is particularly barrel-shaped, harking back to the simple tube-shaped haniwa, from which more elaborate forms developed. The figure’s left foot is a recent restoration.
Other haniwa in the form of wrestlers exist. Though the precise role of wrestling in this period is unclear, it is mentioned in the first written record in Japan, from the eighth century, in relation to shrine rituals or as part of celebrations to honor foreign guests.
- 300 AD–522 AD
- 63.4 × 38.4 × 22 cm (25 × 15 1/8 × 8 5/8 in.)
- Purchased with Funds Provided by the Weston Foundation; President's Exhibition and Acquisition Fund