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Kofun (古墳, from Sino-Japanese "ancient grave") are megalithic tombs or tumuli in Japan, constructed between the early 3rd century and the early 7th century AD. The term Kofun is the origin of the name of the Kofun period, which indicates the middle 3rd century to early-middle 6th century. Many Kofun have distinctive keyhole-shaped mounds (zenpo-koenfun (前方後円墳?)), which are unique to ancient Japan. The Mozu-Furuichi kofungun or tumulus clusters have been proposed for inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List, while Ishibutai Kofun is one of a number in Asuka-Fujiwara similarly residing on the Tentative List.
Daisen Kofun, the largest of all kofun, one of many tumuli in the Mozu kofungun, Sakai, Osaka Prefecture (5th century)
The kofun tumuli have assumed various shapes throughout history. The most common type of kofun is known as a zempō-kōen-fun (前方後円墳?), which is shaped like a keyhole, having one square end and one circular end, when viewed from above. There are also circular-type (empun (円墳?)), "two conjoined rectangles" typed (zempō-kōhō-fun (前方後方墳?)), and square-type (hōfun (方墳?)) kofun. Orientation of kofun is not specified. For example, in the Saki Kofun group, all of the circular parts are facing north, but there is no such formation in the Yanagimoto kofun group. Haniwa, terracotta figures, were arrayed above and in the surroundings to delimit and protect the sacred areas.
Kofun range from several metres to over 400m long. The largest, which has been attributed to Emperor Nintoku, is Daisen kofun in Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture.
The funeral chamber was located beneath the round part and comprised a group of megaliths. In 1972, the unlooted Takamatsuzuka Tomb was found in Asuka, and some details of the discovery were revealed. Inside the tightly assembled rocks, white lime plasters were pasted, and colored pictures depict the 'Asuka Beauties' of the court as well as constellations. A stone coffin was placed in the chamber, and accessories, swords, and bronze mirrors were laid both inside and outside the coffin. The wall paintings have been designated national treasures and the grave goods as important cultural property, while the tumulus is a special historic site
originally posted by: Triton1128
Makes you wonder if past civilizations built mock up temples, or monuments of what they saw. Like those south pacific island tribes during world war 2 that never saw planes before. They were found later building wood monuments of planes they saw flying over them. In hopes they'd return and bring more food!
Cool post, thanks!