About the product
[Jomon Doki (pottery) meets street culture.]
Numerous examples of Doki pottery and Dogu clay figurines, believed to have originated during Japan's Jomon period over 15,000 to 2,400 years ago, have been unearthed in various regions of the country. The Jomon era, characterized by a complex hunter-gatherer lifestyle and the use of rudimentary agriculture, is estimated to have spanned over 10,000 years.
The JOMOHEADS project has been conceived with the goal of blending the alluring Jomon Doki artifacts with contemporary street culture to convey the sense of excitement and joy associated with this ancient culture. While the project aims to produce tangible objects, the ultimate objective is to impart the rich cultural legacy and historical significance that underlie these objects, and to take pride in doing so.
[Genuine Jomon Doki data using 3D scanning]
Utilizing sensors and lasers, 3D scanning technology enables the transformation of tangible objects into 3D data. In the realm of archaeology, authentic artifacts and Jomon pottery must remain untouched, yet once they are digitally converted, they can be effortlessly manipulated by adjusting their size or selectively carving out certain sections.
Jomon pottery was painstakingly crafted by ancient inhabitants of Japan, and by interacting with the 3D version of these pieces, one can explore them from previously unexplored perspectives and sense the vitality of the maker in each intricate pattern. We extend an invitation to experience this immersive sensation by grasping and feeling the authentic texture of these 3D renderings.
The 3D data used in this project has been sourced from the 'Yamanashi Design Archive' and the 'Jomon Open Source Project', both of which are commendable initiatives by the Yamanashi Prefectural Industrial Technology Center aimed at democratizing access to regional relics. Therefore, our aim is to also broaden awareness of these outstanding projects through our efforts at 'JOMOHEADS'.
[3D CG and 3D printed prototypes for sharper modeling]
A mere ten years ago, the production of figure and sofubi prototypes necessitated the painstaking manual crafting of each individual piece. However, as computer graphics software has progressed, an increasing number of prototype makers have opted to use digital modeling techniques. While both manual and digital prototyping techniques boast unique merits, 'JOMOHEADS' harnesses the potential of digital prototyping to integrate Jomon pottery's 3D data into the characters' body components through the application of advanced CG software. This blending of digital and tangible elements affords the opportunity to experience the precision and crispness that are exclusive to computer-generated forms, all while savoring the texture and authenticity of genuine earthenware.
[Characters created from 3D data.]
Irrespective of the value or worth of an object, if it fails to align with the spirit of the times, it will inevitably fade into oblivion. The evolution of culture and technology does not proceed along a linear trajectory but rather resembles the spiraling ascent of a staircase. Fashion, for instance, is cyclical, as trends from the past, such as those from the 1980s and 1990s, reemerge as popular once more. From above, a spiral staircase appears to revolve in a static location, but when viewed from the side, it is observed to spiral upwards and onwards.
'JOMOHEADS' ingeniously blends the captivating design of Jomon pottery with the pulsating energy of street culture, including hip-hop, graffiti art, and skateboarding. Above all, the project places great emphasis on fostering a sense of joy and delight. By imbuing Jomon pottery with the vivacity of present-day 'fun', it has been revitalized as a vibrant spirit that endures in the contemporary moment.
The characters are;
Mataka born from flame-style pottery,
Issy was born from pottery with large four-unit handle, and
CHIQOO born from deep pot with human face-shaped handle.
・Prototype production: 3D printing outputs a prototype.
・Wax mould prototype: A replica of the prototype is produced using wax. Parts such as "yuguchi" and "kanki" are attached to this prototype.
・Mould making: Moulds are made using electro-casting and welding techniques. This is an important process requiring experience and knowledge.
・Sample production: samples are produced according to the desired colour.
・Colouring masks: masks for colouring. Produced based on the actual moulded object.
・Modelling: the process of actually making the figures. Each piece is made by hand by craftsmen.
・Painting (only colourful ver.): Painting is carried out using the colouring masks.
Chi Ku: H20cm W11cm D8cm
Issy: H22cm W11cm D9cm
Mataka: H18cm W10cm D14cm
About the maker
'That is good', the web media that produces these figures, is a collection of things that we think are great, such as JAPAN CULTURE, music and LIVE events that you can enjoy with all five senses, images that tell the world about Japan. We also offer a range of things that we think are wonderful, such as things that may not be necessary for life but would enrich our lives if we had them, and things that bring a smile to our faces and deliver them to people around the world with a positive attitude such as "That's good!”.
Post-digital artist Taketo Kobayashi
Graduated from the Faculty of Environment and Information Studies, Keio University. After working at the Tokyo University of Technology Creative Lab and Gonzo, he currently works as a "post-digital artist", using digital tools such as computer graphics and 3D printing as a "brush" to create a wide range of works, from three-dimensional pieces to video. He is also active overseas, where he collaborated with artist Yoshinori Sakamaki a.k.a. sense on the project "XSENSE" (Denver, Colorado), in which he utilised digital works in street art to create murals. He also collaborated with a contemporary Noh theatre company to create a performance using animation with a unique worldview as stage art (San Francisco, Denver).
As a young child, I viewed "Jomon" as just another destination for a school trip, a mere artifact that held little significance in my young mind. However, upon revisiting the local archaeological museum, I was astounded by the sheer beauty and intricate detail of this ancient art form. The Jomon pottery, with its undulating and interwoven patterns, was unlike anything I had ever seen before, and I was captivated by its uniqueness and originality.
My subsequent research and visits to other museums across Japan further revealed the Jomon's profound symbiosis with nature and a peaceful era that lasted for more than 10,000 years. What struck me most was the diversity of the Jomon culture in each region of Japan and its interconnectedness, showcasing the significance of networking and diversity long before it became a buzzword.
The wonderful thing about the Jomon is that each region of Japan had its own distinctive Jomon culture, which traded with each other and influenced each other as a culture and art form. Diversity and networking - the keywords of our time - were already present in prehistoric Japan.
Inspired by this rich cultural heritage, I initiated the 'JOMOHEADS' project with the aim of sharing the Jomon with more people in a fun and engaging way. Rather than merely relying on academic literature to spark interest, I wanted to create something that would appeal to people of all ages and backgrounds. Thus, I fused Jomon earthenware with hip-hop and street culture to create a series of collectible toys that embody a modern spirit living in today's world.
My hope is that the 'JOMOHEADS' project will not only bring joy and entertainment to its recipients but also foster a deeper appreciation for Japan's cultural history and the sense of pride that comes with it. By conveying history and culture through objects, I believe we can spark a curiosity and understanding of our own cultural heritage, and that the 'JOMOHEADS' project can serve as a stepping stone towards that goal.
I invite you to join me on this journey of rediscovering and cherishing the cultural and historical richness of our land, and hope that the 'JOMOHEADS' can be a part of that journey for you.