Crossbar Bit with Hollyhock Crest

Crossbar Bit with Hollyhock Crest
Height 13.0 cm; Edo period, 19th century; Gift of the Ii Family

This bit for a horse harness has cheek pieces with crossbars attached to the slender bar (mizutsuki) of the bit, a style that was in wide use during the Edo period. This example is engraved with the signature “Tanba daijō [an artisan’s title] Ichiguchi,” indicating that it was crafted by a member of the Ichiguchi family of horse bit makers in the service of the shogunate who lived in the Ichigaya district of Edo. The bit was part of a harness that twelfth daimyo Ii Naoaki received from twelfth shogun Tokugawa Ieyoshi in 1840. It is etched with the hollyhock crest of the Tokugawa family.

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