In some Buddhist ritual services, priests scatter flower petals made of paper. Keko are baskets to hold these ritual paper petals.
The existing examples in the Shosoin Treasury suggest that keko baskets were originally woven of bamboo. Beginning in the Heian Period, however, keko baskets became highly decorative. The designs and techniques exhibited in this keko basket are the finest existing today.
Engraved openwork designs of hosoge flowers and vines grow out from the center of this bronze basket in three different directions and across the entire surface. The bottom surface is carved with the suki-bori method to create a three-dimensional effect. Fine lines are engraved into the flower centers. The entire basket is gilded; some important parts of the hosoge flowers and vines have silver- plate over the gold.
The sixteen keko baskets owned by Jinsho-ji Temple can be classified into two groups based on their elaborate designs. The five classic-style keko are thought to have been made in the late-Heian Period.