Goto school

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Mitokoromono by Gotô Yûjô. Metropolitan Museum.
  • Japanese: 後藤派 (Gotou-ha)

The Gotô school was a lineage of master lacquerware and metalwork artists, specializing in kôgai, menuki, kozuka, and other fine sword-fittings. Active from the time of Ashikaga Yoshimasa (late 15th century) through the late Edo period, the school's distinctive style features the use of painterly designs in high relief, done chiefly in lacquerware and shakudô (a gold/copper alloy), with touches of gold, silver, and nanako (a design of tiny punched circles).

The school was founded by Gotô Yûjô, who was patronized by Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa. The first few generations of masters did not sign or seal their works, but around 1600, members of the Gotô school began to authenticate the works of their predecessors, adding names onto the back of the works, connecting into a culture of samurai pride in the provenance of their possessions.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art today holds, perhaps, the most extensive collection of works by the Gotô school, much of it obtained from the head of the Mito Tokugawa clan in 1945. The collection is regularly on display in the museum's Arms & Armor gallery, including a mitokoromono, that is, a complete set of kôgai, kozuka, and menuki, by each of fifteen Gotô masters.

Heads of the Gotô school

  1. Gotô Yûjô (c. 1440-1512)
  2. Gotô Sôjô (c. 1461-1538)
  3. Gotô Jôshin (c. 1513-1562)
  4. Gotô Kôjô (1529-1620)
  5. Gotô Tokujô (1550-1631)
  6. Gotô Eijô (1577-1617)
  7. Gotô Kenjô (1586-1663)
  8. Gotô Sokujô (1600-1631)
  9. Gotô Teijô Mitsumasa (1603-1673)[1]
  10. Gotô Renjô Mitsutomo (1628-1708)
  11. Gotô Tsûjô Mitsunobu (1664-1721)
  12. Gotô Jujô Mitsumasa (1689-1742)
  13. Gotô Enjô Mitsutaka (1722-1784)
  14. Gotô Keijô Mitsumori (1741-1804)
  15. Gotô Shinjô Mitsuyoshi (1780-1843)


  • Gallery labels, Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  1. The Metropolitan Museum also holds a koto by Gotô Teijô, decorated in lacquer and motifs in gold-foil of the crane crest of the Karasumaru family. 2007.194a-f.