A beautiful futatokoromono set attributed to Goto Teijo, the 9th Goto mainline master. The menuki and kozuka are made from a fantastic black coloured shakudo nanako plate featuring aoi mon (hollyhock) family crests engraved with gold coloured iroe. This elegant design is in keeping with the mainline Goto family and was probably made for a branch of the Tokugawa family.

The Goto school is synonymous with excellence in the production of soft metal (kinko) fittings. For over five centuries, successive generations of this famous family of artists created a body of work that was rarely, if ever equaled in elegance and quality. Goto kodogu/tosogu defined good taste, reflected the lifestyles and interests of the Samurai, and altogether form a “window” through which you can view Japan as it once was. They were by decree, the only fittings allowed to be worn at exclusive court functions. Besides the making of sword fittings, the Goto family also operated the National mint that produced most of the gold coins used during these times. Under the continued patronage of the Tokugawa Shogunate, the mainline Goto Ie bori (family retained metal carvers), and the Waki-Goto (branch) schools, remained dominant to the very end of the 19th century, and the Samurai way of life.

Goto Teijo (1603-1673), was the son of Kenjo, the seventh Shirobei mainline master. His real name was Genichiro, which was changed to Mitsumasa after his twenty-second birthday. Mitsumasa ‘s uncle was Sokujo Mitsushige (1600-1631), the eighth Goto Shirobei master. Sokujo died at a very early age, and because his son Renjo, at four years old was too young, Mitsumasa became the guardian of the family. He was to fully inherit the title as head of the Goto during Kan-ei 13th (1636), becoming the ninth master. In the third year of Shoho (1646), when he was forty-four, Mitsumasa changed his name to Teijo. For some time, Goto Teijo was in the service of Tokugawa Ietsuna, the fourth Shogun, receiving an annual stipend of forty koku of rice. He also worked for the Maeda family as second master of the Kaga Goto school. When Renjo came of age around Shoo 1st (1652), Teijo retired as head of the family. Soon after this, he became a full-time retainer of Maeda Toshitsune (1593-1658). Along with his cousin Enjo, Teijo Mitsumasa continued to work for the Maeda clan in Kaga, and the Edo Bakufu, until his death in the first year of Enpo (1673).

Among the many generations of the Goto, the works of Teijo are considered to be in greater variety and of higher skill. Many excellent examples still exist, and his earliest pieces will often resemble his fathers’. His first mei (Mitsumasa), is not seen as frequently, as when he changed over to Teijo. Like most sons or pupils of famous artists, he was probably fashioning items for Kenjo”s signature at that earlier time. He seems to have made more kozuka than anything else, in both standard and larger sizes. There are fine works of menuki and kogai, sometimes found in matched sets called futatokoromono. When a kozuka was added, it becomes a mitokoromono, meaning a set of precious ‘things for three places’ on a sword. Along with these items, fuchi-kashira were produced, and even some tsuba. To create his art, Teijo usually combined shakudo, nanako, and gold to form Dragons, floral patterns, zodiac animals, mon, and the like. “Uji-river” and “Genji” battle scenes of Samurai warriors are depicted as well. After his “retirement”, Teijo became more independent and conceived his own designs that were not quite so rigid as the Goto tradition usually called for.




9.67 cm x 1.4cm x 0.47cm


3.12cm x 1.14cm x 0.78cm
3.11cm x 1.16cm x 0.75cm


May 2012