Incense container

Incense container "Butterfly"

Mikiko Hayashi
Item Number:A2065P
H1 W4 3/4 D2 3/4in
H2 W11.6 D6.4cm
Dry lacquer, yamato-e pigments

A small, lidded container used for storing the aromatic wood that was burned as incense. Usually made of lacquer or ceramic, wood and metal containers were also used. Since the aromatic wood was highly prized, the containers in which it was placed were of commensurate aesthetic value and technical accomplishment.

In the tea ceremony, incense is burned for the enjoyment of the arriving guests. The small, lidded container for keeping the aromatic wood is called a kogô.
Incense was made from the fragrant wood of trees not native to Japan and was thus a sparingly – used, imported commodity with a value equal to that of gold. Consequently, only unusual imported vessels or domestic containers of exceptional aesthetic value and technical accomplishment were considered appropriate for use as kogô, although wood and metal examples are also found.

Yamato-e paintings:
Yamato-e, a genre of Japanese painting, vividly evokes the imperial court in Kyoto during the Heian period ( 794-1185 ) , representing the culture in detail with traditional coloring techniques. So-called “ Japanese style painting, “ as opposed to painting in the Chinese manner. At first used to connote paintings treating native Japanese themes, the term was later used to designate paintings executed in the highly polychromed, detailed style of paintings on Japanese themes produced during the Heian period.