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Fertile periods of artistic endeavor are not hard to come by in Japanese history. Many would cite, for example, the Edo (1603-1868), Muromachi (1392-1573), or Heian (794-1185) periods. Few, however, would mention the ancient Jomon Period (10,000-200 B.C. )in the same breath.

The Tokyo National Museum aims to change that with its “Jomon: 10,000 Years of Prehistoric Art in Japan” exhibition, which has rounded up more than 200 items — everything from ancient jars to masks.

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