Human face found painted on ancient stone

The oldest ancient painting of a human face on stone has been found in Kikonai, Hokkaido, Japan. The artefact dates back to the latter half of the mid-Jomon period, around 4300 years ago.

Ancient pottery with a visible human face painted (by Yoshinori Toyomane)

The piece dating from the Jomon Pottery Culture (c. 8000 BC-300 BC)  measures 12 to 13 centimetres per side and is 1.4 centimetres thick. The  the stone has been flattened with a whetstone or other tools and is shaped like an triangle. It was unearthed beneath the ground where a pit house used to stand. A horizontal line is drawn near the top side with a black pigment, and an ellipse that apparently represents an eye and lines forming eyebrows with the nose. How the stone piece was actually used remains unclear, but experts state the object may have been used for religious services and other purposes in ancient times. Archaeologist Yasushi Kosugi, a Jomon culture professor at Hokkaido University, states that the find is extremely precious in that it could help ascertain what the spiritual culture in the mid-Jomon period was like

(after Yoshinori Toyomane & Asahi Shimbun)

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