Kubi-Oke

Kubi-Oke

Kubi-oke were round wooden bucket-like containers used for the storage and transportation of severed heads. They stood around 29cm high, and 33cm in diameter. Often they were fitted with steel “gatari” brackets to carry the box on a pole. The higher quality kubi-oke were lacquered, and the simpler ones were of plain wood.

**Color photos courtesy of the Kura

A small note was pasted to the lid, or written directly onto the lid of the kubi-Oke explaining details such as the name of the head, and often who claimed it, and under what circumstances it was taken, such as in battle, or through seppuku.

**Color photos courtesy of the Kura

Some kubi-oke featured a small spike inside for fitting the head onto. Others were bereft of this spike, as the heads were often salted and wrapped in a white cloth to avoid spoiling before being presented for the Kubi-jiken, or head viewing ceremony. Since 940AD until its destruction in 1945 during WWII bombing, the Tsukudo Shrine in Tokyo was in possession of the kubi-oke that once held Taira no Masakado’s head.

Pre-WW2 photo of Taira no Masakado’s Kubi-oke

By | 2018-01-04T14:42:31+09:00 1月 4th, 2018|Culture & Lifestyles|0 Comments

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