7th-century wooden 'meat tag' found in Osaka palace ruins
Merci Asahi Shimbun 1/8/2014
By KUNIHIKO IMAI/ Senior Staff Writer
OSAKA--A seventh-century wooden “mokkan” (wood document) unearthed in 2013 in the ruins of Naniwanomiya palace was likely used as a meat shipping tag.
The mokkan is inscribed with “shishiikko” (meat package) and is considered to be one of the oldest examples in Japan, according to officials with the Osaka City Cultural Properties Association.
A report on the discovery appears in the Aug. 1 edition of Ashibi, the association’s information magazine.
The 8.6-centimeter long, 2.5-cm wide mokkan was unearthed in August 2013 during reclamation work. The foundation where the mokkan was found is estimated to date between 650 to 652, when the early Naniwanomiya palace was under construction during the reign of Emperor Kotoku (596-654).
“Meat could have been paid as a tax or presented as a tribute to the palace,” said Takumi Takahashi, an official with the Osaka City Cultural Properties Association. “It could have been served to workers constructing the palace."