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The Yokoya school

The Yokoya school
Yokoya Soumin
Yokoya Somin
(1670 - 1733)

The Yokoya school occupies a most important place in the sword ornament metal-carving world.

The father of the Yokoya school is Yokoya Soyo who studied metal-carving under Goto Injo and lived in Kyoto.
When Goto Sokujo went to Edo on the order of the Tokugawa Shogunate, Soyo accompanied with him.
Soyo was also appointed as an offical sword fitting maker.

Although, Somin who is a son of Soyo contributed much to shed luster on this school.
Yokoya Somin was born in Edo in 1670. His given name was Chojiro.
He studied metal-carving with the Goto family first, succeeded his father's job at the age of 21 as his father deceaced. Though, later on, he resigned the job because he became tired of it.
When Somin was around 28, he set up shop at Kanda of Edo. (Also changed his name from Sochi to Somin.)
 Somin broke away from the Goto's traditional carving style which was called "Iebori". Somin formed a friendship with Hanabusa Iccho (Painter).
Somin introduced Japanese painting methods into his works and also introduced "Katakiribori" carving method.
Free craftsmen like Somin (=Not be hired by Tokugawa or other daimyo families) are called "Machibori".
Somin's carving style with plenty of realism was enthusiastically received by people.
His style matched the appetite of townspeople who played leading rolls in the Genroku culture.
Somin mostly made Menuki, Kozuka, Fuchi, Kashira and Kougai.
He did not make plenty number of tsuba.