A very rare kogai attributed to Goto KOJO (1529 - 1620), the 4th mainline master of the Shirobei branch of the Goto family of sword furniture makers. Kojo is widely recognized as among the greatest craftsmen of the school, and his works are highly sought after, becoming cornerstones of any serious tosogu collection. He was the son of Joshin. His work resembles that of Yujo in style. It is noble and dignified, neither too strong nor to weak. The impression it conveys is that of resting under the green shadow of a patriarchal pine and looking out on a glow of cherry bloom. It is generally said that Kojo's carving style is similar to the founders Yujo's. There are only several pieces of works which are inscribed his name. The shape of his kogai are often a bit more robust than those of his predecessors. The early Goto never signed their works, so attribution is made through experience, and sometimes through attestation by later members of the Goto lineage.
The kogai is made of deep black shakudo, with a very finely punched background of nanako. The motif, executed in high relief, is of a limb of evergreen plant with berries, that was thought to be fortuitous and a symbol of a long and happy life. In English, it is called the Japanese 'sacred lily'.