In Japanese tradition, sculptured pottery cylinders, modeled in human or animal figures, or in other forms, and placed in early (archaic) Japanese burial mounds (or "tumuli"). Human-figured haniwa figurines have generally been found in postdating the mid-5th century. Earlier tumuli tend to have non-human haniwa forms, such as canopies, shields, armor and houses. Many human-figured haniwa, including female shamans, dancers, people in full dress, warriors, farmers, harpists, and hawking men, have been found in the Kanto district. Burial styles changed as stone room tumuli became more common. Typically, several types of clay figurines would be arranged in front of the stone room, almost as if they were attendents at the burial.Examples: Japan, Kofun Period, 6th century, Warrior in keiko type armor, terra cotta haniwa tomb figure, excavated at Iizuka-cho, Ota-shi, Gunma, height 130.5 cm, Tokyo National Museum. Japanese authorities consider this to be a "National Treasure." Japan, Kofun Period, 6th century, Dog, terra cotta tomb figurine, excavated at Kamidakeshi, Sakai-machi, Gunma, height 46.3 cm, Tokyo National Museum. Japan, Kofun Period, 6th century, Male Haniwa Figurine, earthenware, height 75.0 cm, excavated at Wakiya, Gunma Prefecture. Considered in Japan an "Important Art Object". This male figure wears a sedge hat and a necklace, and dresses his hair in the mizura style. He wears a short sword, and carries a hoe on his right shoulder.

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