Language: Japanese
Source: Michitatsu's Sōken Kishō of 1781


Mino-bori (美濃彫) means "Mino carving" style. It is the name for a type of metalwork that is usually done in black shakudō with gold and silver highlights. The designs are usually of flowers and insects standing out in high relief. It is sometimes also called Mino Gotō, after the famous Gotō family of fittings makers whose founder originated from Mino.


Fuchi kashira (pommel and ferrrule) in Mino-bori Signed and made by Mino Mitsunaka.

Fuchi kashira (pommel and ferrrule) in Mino-bori
Signed and made by Mino Mitsunaka.


According to transmission, the Mino group of metalworkers resided in the village of Kagano in Ōgaki district of Mino since the Nanboku-chō period of 1336 to 1392. It is said that Gotō mainline founder, Gotō Yūjō (1440-1512) was born in Mino and was originally part of this group of metalworkers, hence they are also referred to as Mino-Gotō. The idea of ties with Gotō is strengthened by the mention of ruins of a Gotō family mansion only about 10 kilometers from Kagano, in the town of Gifu, Mino, in 1747.  Some Mino artists, such as Yoshimasa, even signed with the Gotō family name.

The first historical mention of the term Mino-bori is in Michitatsu's Sōken Kishō of 1781, where he believes the term originated by dealers of sword fittings of the time. He also mentions the work is characterized by deeply carved autumn motifs, and names the makers Mitsuaki (光暁) Mitsumasa (光政) and Mitsunobu (光伸).

Markus Sesko; The Japanese toso-kinko Schools. Lulu Publishing, 2012. Pages 47-48.


Notable makers

Signed examples only appear from the Edo period onwards, and activity seems to have seized circa 1700.

Mitsuaki (光暁)
Mitsumasa (光政)
Mitsunaka (光仲)
Mitsunobu (光伸)


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Carved out of copper alloy with details highlighted in gold.


Very delicate work with carved guardian lions.


Of a copper alloy with a different shade on each side.


Unusual tsuba with foreign figures and Chinese auspicious symbols.


Pierced and chiseled showing an 18th century European vessel.


One of his classic designs, signed by the maker.