Kaga-Goto FutatokoromonoKaga-Goto

periodMid-Edo (ca. 1700-1750)
designationNBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon Tosogu

Kaga-Goto is a branch of the Goto school who primarily served the Maeda daimyo family of Kaga province. Goto Tokujo (5th master), and Kenjo (7th master) spent some of their careers working for the Maeda in Kaga, especially as the Goto were temporarily on the outs with the Tokugawa immediately after Ieyasu defeated the Toyotomi and their allies at Sekigahara. After Goto Renjo took over the Shirobei-Goto mainline work for the Tokugawa, Goto Teijo, the 9th mainline master, also worked for the Maeda daimyo Toshitsune, out of Kaga.

The Kaga-Goto branch remained resident in Kaga province came out of Kenjo's lineage. As this branch of the Goto worked for this powerful daimyo family, the works tend to be high quality and signatures few. This branch of the Goto family also accidentally ended up manufacturing porelain. Goto Sajiro (7th Kaga-Goto master, aka. Kiyoyoshi) was responsible for mining gold in Kaga and by chance discovered appropriate materials for fabricating porcelain, and was sent to Hizen province to learn porcelain manufacturing techiniques in order to exploit this resource. This was done at the direction of Maeda Toshihiaru, and these Goto family porcelain works are now very appreciated and called Kutani or Ko-Kutani for the earliest ones.

The anecestor of the Kaga-Goto line was Goto Ichi´emon (後藤市右衛門), a student of Kenjo (顕乗, 1586-1663), the 7th gen. Goto mainline who, with his cousin Kakujo (覚乗, 1589-1656), commuted on a bi-annual basis between Kyoto and Kanazawa. The meikan records and the extant documents of the Goto family are in disagreement on the succession of generations of the Kaga-Goto line. Anyway, Ichi´emon´s son Kiyonaga (清永) is regarded as 1st gen. of the Shichibei (七兵衛), the official name of the Kaga-Goto line. Shichibei was namely the first name of Kiyonaga. His nyudo-go was Choju (長寿) and he died in the twelfth month of Kan´ei five (1628).

His successor and 2nd gen. Kaga-Goto was Seijiro Kiyoshige (清二郎清重) who also studied under Kenjo. Kiyoshige died on the 25th day of the second month of Kanbun four (1664). The 3rd gen. was Kiyoshige´s son Hirokiyo (広清) who died on the 22nd day of the third month of Kanbun ten (1670). He was followed by his son Seiin (清寅) who died on the 27th day of the eleventh month of Genroku one (1688).

Another approach counts Kiyonobu (清宣, 1661-?) instead of Seiin as the 4th gen. of the Shichibei line. Kiyonobu is listed like Seiin with the eleventh month of Genroku one (1688) as date of death but with the information that he died at the young age of 27. This allows the speculation that Kiyonobu and Seiin were actually the same artist.

The 5th gen. was according to this approach Seiin´s son Norikiyo (詮清) who died on the 29th day of the first month of Kyoho five (1720). The 6th gen. was Norikiyo´s son Hisakiyo (久清) who died on the 21st day of the eighth month of An´ei three (1774). A 7th gen. followed Hisakiyo´s son Kiyoyoshi (清冷) who died on the 20th day of the tenth month of Bunka eight (1811). The 8th and 9th gen. Kaga-Goto were Kiyoaki (清明, 1762-1820) and Kiyotsune (清恒, 1795-1850) respectively. Markus Sesko, Kinko Kodogu

As the Goto family did not make tsuba until some time around the 5th and 6th generations, it is a bit more rare to find nice quality tsuba work from the school compared to menuki, kozuka and kogai.

There is a habit out there of interpreting Kaga-Goto to always mean the work of the first couple of masters. My own knowledge in this regard is limited so I'll leave further interpretation of period and maker to the viewer. This tsuba though is extremely well made and is entirely in stride with other top quality Goto work.

Tokubetsu Hozon Kaga-Goto Futatokoromono
Kaga-Goto Futatokoromono Origami

Kaga-Goto Futatokoromono

These are typical dragons from the Goto family's repertoire of work. It's a bit over my head as to what clues tie them to the Kaga branch, but there are usually contextual elements in the compositions of legs and claws and so forth that are used by the NBTHK judges that separate out the work of branches and generations.

The Kaga branch was extremely talented and during their tenure there is no drop off of skill from the main line Goto branch. Usually an attribution of Waki-Goto would reflect a lower skilled but most likely to be Goto work.

There is a little bit of damage to the back of the kozuka. This can be repaired in Japan by one of the current tosogu artists without much of an issue. I will include the cost of fixing it in this listing, or else give a discount from the list price after examination in person.

As Kaga-Goto works were generally made for the Maeda clan, who were very powerful, the work has to match what you would expect to be used to represent people with this kind of power. I bought these originally for mounting with a Tokubetsu Juyo class sword, however they can be enjoyed as-is in the box. They're quite nicely made and easily earned their rank of Tokubetsu Hozon.

There is some damage to the backs of these, I think because an attribution was poorly removed. It probably had a mainline goto attribution on it. Filing on gold changes the reflectivity so in the photos it looks worse than it is. A competent tosogu maker in Japan can clean these up and I can arrange it.

This kind of dragon coiled around a ken and trying to swallow it goes back to the original legends of the founding of Japan wherein a dragon swallowed a sword. Male dragons in these representations have a sword at the end of the tail which represents that event. This style however is fairly rare with the standard forms being a dragon rampant. Often these are associated with earlier work of the Goto school. So this is possibly what the attribution was.

NOTE: This was photographed with a kogatana in place, the kogatana does not actually belong to this set though so is not included in the listing. I don't currently have enough time to go back and re-photograph the items at the moment so I'm showing it as-is.

Kaga-Goto Futatokoromono Box
Kaga-Goto Futatokoromono Backs