Pair of Japanese black lacquer HOKAI with gilded incised copper mount.
Hokai 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'' originally it was meant the act of offering food to the gods and Buddha, and was a vessel for serving food to the gods . As time passed, it was used not only as an offering but also to carry food during festival events.
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 elaborately elaborated with techniques such as inserting hoops and applying lacquer maki- e.
From Meiji period, 19th century.
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