• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1978

    Japanese And Korean Art

    18 March 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 361

    A Pair of Goto School Menuki


    Price Realised  


    A Pair of Goto School Menuki
    Muromachi period (circa 1500), attested to Goto Sojo by Goto Enjo
    Carved in high relief as two pairs of gambolling Chinese lions the reverse with well-filed edges and the mounting pins of male and female (in-yo) type
    With two wood storage boxes; inner box with inscription and signed Kanzan (Sato Kanzan), dated summer, 1975
    With photocopy of an origami signed Mitsutaka (Goto Enjo) and dated 1753
    With Tokubetsu kicho tosogu (Sword-fitting especially worthy of preserving) certificate no. 169 issued by the Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyokai (Society for the Preservation of the Japan Art Sword), dated 1971.4.15 46 (2)

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Sebastian Izzard, ed., One Hundred Masterpieces from the Collection of Dr. Walter A. Compton (New York: Christie, Manson and Woods International Inc., 1992), no. 71.

    Goto Sojo (1461-1538) was the second Shirobei mainline master of the Goto school. He was born in Kyoto and was the second son of Goto Yujo (1432-1512). His style is very close to Yujo, with whom he worked for over thirty-five years, and he used many of the same design. He died at Sakamoto in Omi province while in the service of Ashikaga Yoshiharu and Kuchiki Tanetsuna of Omi. He was buried in Kyoto at the Rendaiji temple.

    The workmanship of these menuki demonstrates his typical stylistic traits. The tri-indented cartouches (suhama) are each quatrefoil with joined lines, and the teeth of the lions are almost hidden inside the mouth. These traits combined with the heads and tails which would fit into a diamond form, the small sparse nanako dots, the even wall construction of the backs, the well-filed edges, and the center poles (rectangular in shape for the inside menuki and round and tubular for the outside menuki), confirms this pair as classic examples of Sojo's work.

    Goto Enjo (Mitsutaka, 1721-1784) was the thirteenth Shirobei mainline master of the Goto school.


    Joseph Seo, New York
    Dr. Walter A. Compton, sold in these Rooms, Japanese Swords and Sword Fittings from the Collection of Walter A. Compton (Part 1), 31 March, 1992, lot 128