Jomon period. The oldest pieces of pottery were hand-built vessels (left). The term Jomon means "cord marked" which refers to the way early Japanese potters decorated their work with rope.
As the 10,000 year Jomon period went on, people began to use the ceramic process for more than just pots for cooking and food-storage. They created ceramic arrowheads and figurines (dogu). The remaining Jomon dogu, created between 1000 and 300 B.C., are remarkable. Not only because they lasted 3000 years, but because it's believed that they were religious instruments, intended to be destroyed once their spiritual purpose was achieved.
Fans of anime and manga take note—the use of disproportionally large eyes in Japanese art began more than 3000 years ago!