Pair of Japanese black lacquer HOKAI containers with gilded incised copper mount.
Hokai (also written as Sokai ) is a container used for the purpose of transporting food during rituals in Japan from the Middle Ages to early modern times. In Ainu language, it's called "shintoko".
The name ``Hokai'' means the act of offering food to the gods and Buddha. As time passed, these containers were used to carry food during various festivals.
Since early modern times, the custom of giving Sekihan and steamed buns in Hokai to celebrate a birth or 60th birthday has become established. Hokai were used to represent the status of a family, and gradually became elaborate with techniques such as inserting hoops and applying gold and lacquer maki- e.
From Meiji period, 19th century.
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