Dogū are clay figurines ranging in height from 10 to 30 cm, dating back to the Jōmon period, the first identifiable period of Japanese history.
To date, in the settlements extending from Kyushu to Hokkaido, some 18000 specimens representing humanoids or animals have been found, the oldest are almost 10,000 years old, the youngest is only 2,300.
The first statuettes were naturally stocky and often devoid of superior limbs but in the middle Jōmon the appearance changed so much to lead experts to identify 4 main types of Dogū
- "Heart-shaped" and "Crescent-shaped eyebrow" figurine (also known as "Dogu of the Mountains") with a characteristic heart-shaped or triangle-shaped head (Yamagata-Dogū)
- “Horned-Owl type” figurine (Mimizuko-Dogū) with flared head at the base, jaw highlighted by a groove that joins the ears, eyes and mouth formed by three deep grooves and small protuberances on the head.
- “Goggle-eyed type” figurine (Shakōki-Dogū) with a particular shape of the eyes which appear to be covered by bone-like protections used by the Inuit or big sunglasses.
- “Pregnant woman type” figurine (Venus-Dogū) also known as "Japanese Venus" have protruding breasts and abdomen, marked waist, small but prominent nipples, wide flanks. They are supposed to have ritual ends and represent a means of invocation to fertility and abundance.
There are some theories about these figurines.
It's generally thought that they had different functions depending on where they were found: talismans, fetishes or medical dolls and elements related to funeral rites but also representations of protector gods related to the fertility of the earth and toys for children.
Even in this case, it is impossible to definitively know the purpose of the Dogū, it is logical to look for similarities with other cultures to find an explanation.
In the Sumerian culture, human figurines were often placed on the temples of Ziggurats as permanent stand-ins for worshippers, so the gods would be aware that these people were constantly praying.
These "Goggle-eyed Dogū", for example, might have been used for the same type of religious substitution, whether they were worshipping a particular deity or were intended to represent a person's trip to the afterlife.
The watchfulness—if that is indeed the intention of the goggle eyes—could very likely have applied to religion, in the same way the ancient Sumerian votives emphasized big, bright, azure eyes.
However there are also those who, relying on the theory of the Paleocontact or of the Ancient Astronauts, depart from the conclusions of the traditional science because the Dogū appear humanoid but certainly not human.
The clothing they wear is reminiscent of space suits and technological objects. Are they mostly based on that people's imagination or something more? Shakōki Dogū and Yamagata Dogū are the most interesting statuettes from a ufological point of view because they present enigmatic and controversial details: one reports strange patterns and drawings along the body, hands and feet are indefinite or even absent, while the other one seems to be dressed like a modern astronaut, wearing a helmet, suit, gloves and boots.
These elements are considered as irrefutable evidence by supporters of clipeology who recognize in the dogu the following accessories:
- a helmet fitted with a shaped visor to shield the passage of sunlight
- a breathing filter at the mouth
- a connecting collar between the helmet and the suit
- small pliers mounted on articulated heads in place of hands
- connecting valves for pipes placed on the chest of the suit.
Could these strange Dogū figures really represent a primitive iconography of a pressurized spacesuit or wetsuit? Do they provide hard evidences of extraterrestrial contacts in Japan's ancient past?
"The story behin those Dogu figures is very clear, and anyone can go and read translations of the ancient texts that the Dogu, a long time ago, descend from the sky and taught the first Japanese people in various disciplines"
-Giorgio A. Tsoukalos
Resources related to Dogū Statues from Ancient Japan
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