Beautiful shakudo menuki with design of Ox. Mumei. Attributed to Ko-Goto school. Momoyama period (late 16 century – early 17th century). High quality shakudo with gold iroe. These menuki are in wonderful condition considering their age of more than 400 years.

Ko-Goto generally refers to the first three or four generations of the Shirobei (main) line. These early Goto masters seldom signed their work. Assuming the time period of Momoyama is correct then this would point to Goto Kojo (Mitsuiye, 1530-1620).

The Ox is one of the 12 animals of the zodiac calendar whichwas a popular motif for Ko-Goto, along with Lion and Peony. The Ox is also an emblem of the Zen sect of Buddhism.

Steadfast and solid, people born in the year of the Ox are said to be born leaders – being quite dependable and possessing an innate ability to achieve great things. Oxen tend to be plodding and methodical; they approach projects in the step-by-step manner that serves them best, and they never lose sight of their goal. They are tireless workers who are detail-oriented and believe in doing things right the first time.

These menuki may well have been custom made for someone born in the year of the Ox.




Menuki 1 (Left)
Length 3.5 cm
Width 1.4 cm

Menuki 2 (Right)
Length 3.3 cm
Width 1.4 cm


June 2012