Bou-Taoshi is a game. The rules are simple. Players make a heap of sand and place a branch in the centre, then each player takes turns removing sand, the one who causes the branch to fall loses.
It is a common sight in several Japanese temples, where the conic shape represents where god first came in the mythological age. The sand heap is also considered to be an object representative of a divine spirit.
The shape is also used in a ceremony for laying cornerstones, a process through which the building site is purified, though here, the sand is removed using a hoe. The vasis are composed of resin and sand structured around a glass tube “a primitive form for a Japanese flower”.