Kogo (incense container) (香合)

Kogo refers to a lidded small container to put incense in. This is a kind of tea utensils, and also a kind of butsugu ({Buddhist altar fittings}). Kogo (香合) is also written as 香蓋 in Chinese characters, however, which is phonetic-equivalent characters. This is also called Gosu or Goshi.

Kogo in the tea ceremony
Incense is put in Kogo before making up tea, in order to burn incense in a hearth and so on when boiling water. Three pieces of incense are always put in Kogo, and two pieces out of them are dropped near charcoal and smoked. The remaining piece is circulated as it is to the customers for examination. Since incense for furo (furnace) is different from that for hearth, Kogo also differs.

Hearth (From November to April)
A pastille of incense is put in. Pottery Kogo is used.
(Because moisture of pastille damages lacquer-ware.)

Furo (From May to October)
Koboku (fragrant wood) (cutting angle) is put in. Lacquered Kogo, Kogo of imported wood, Kogo of bamboo and so on are used.

In all seasons
Kogo made of shells such as clam (common orient clam) and so on, or of metals is used.

Kogo as a butsugu
It is general to put shoko (incense to be burned) or incense powder in it. Kogo is also used as a container of zuko (the incense for applying to a priest's body or Buddha statue).

[Original Japanese]