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Gold Gotō Hotei Menuki

Appealing solid gold menuki of Hotei with his bag (Hotei-zu 布袋図).  The menuki are carved in a technique known as Katachi-bori (容彫), whereby the subject itself becomes the outline of the menuki, and fine surface carving and finishing from the front.  The menuki have considerable height, and are thick-walled.  Overall a very well made set, and the gold has a slight reddish patina associated with age.

The motif is well executed, with soft, rounded surface features... in line with the soft rounded subject.  Hotei is depicted with his traditional fan and massive bag.  He also seems to be holding a small rounded item - perhaps a jewel.  The detail on these menuki is very good.  Hotei's large ear lobes are evident, his eyes and grinning mouth have definition, and there remain numerous very fine ornamental scribe marks on this bag and robe.  The menuki have height, and the edges are crisp and vertical, making for a clean refined feel.  These are clearly older examples of Goto work, but it is likely impossible to determine the maker with confidence.  The papers I think are correct in their Early Edo attribution.  The box lid has a separate attribution to Gotō Kōjō (4th main line master), suggesting these are ca. Momoyama to early Edo.  I think both attributions essentially are aligned to age, but there likely will not be a consensus on a specific maker.

Translation of the NBTHK Hozon paper description follows:

布袋図目貫  (Hotei-zu menuki)

無銘 後藤  [江戸前期] (Mumei  Gotō [Edo Zenki])

金無垢地 (Kin-Mukuji)

容彫  (Katachi-bori)

Heisei 26th year (2014) January 17th

Box Lid Attribution: 金布袋目貫 (Kin Hotei Menuki) 後藤光乗作 (Gotō Kōjō saku)


Measurements: 4.8cm x 1.9cm x 0.6cm

Edo Period (江戸時代), 17th century



Goto Hotei Menuki Composite_1300px 

Goto Hotei Menuki Box_600px 

Goto Hotei Menuki Hozon Paper_900px 



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