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Gotō Shishi Menuki

Menuki of two shishi executed in deep-black shakudo.  The menuki are carved in a technique known as Katachi-bori (容彫), whereby the subject itself becomes the outline of the menuki.  Surface carving and finishing is applied from the front, and in this case is very deep, providing these small menuki with exceptional definition and relief.  The eyes of each shishi are inlaid with tiny gold dots. The menuki have considerable height, and are thick-walled, with very good niku or body.  The workmanship and attention to detail is very high, with particular emphasis applied to maximizing relief.  These menuki have presence.  The posts on the back are unusually long, extending well past the edges.

Definitely mainline Gotō work and relatively early, but difficult to ascribe to a specific maker with confidence.  The NBTHK while recognizing the quality with the higher papers, have taken a conservative approach.  These menuki are likely 4-5 generation Gotō, and date to the early 17th c., and in my opinion are on the edge of meriting the "Ko-" Gotō designation. The set come in a custom fitted box.

Translation of the NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon paper description follows:

獅子図目貫  (Shishi-zu menuki)

無銘 後藤   (Mumei  Gotō)

赤銅地 容彫 金色絵 (Shakudō-ji Katachi-bori Kin-iroe)

Heisei 26th year (2014) October 31st


Measurements: 3.1cm x 1.5cm x 0.55cm

Early Edo Period (江戸前期時代), 17th century



KoGoto Shishi Menuki Composite_1300px 

KoGoto Shishi Menuki Boxed_1300px 

KoGoto Shishi Menuki Paper_900px 



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