Mumei (unsigned): Bushū-Itō School (武州伊藤派)
Length : 7.00 cm x 7.30 cm, thickness of rim: 0.4 cm
Weight: 122 gr
Period: Mid/Late Edo
N.B.T.H.K. Tokubestu Hozon Tōsōgu certification
In kiri box
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Here we have an excellent Bushū-Itō School tsuba in shakudō, depicting aoi crests arranged as a wheel.
Also we know that in this school the tetsu ji (iron plate) is the most common, and rarely, there are also tsuba in shakudō.
The term Bushū tsuba means the Itō school. This school was native to Edo, where other schools were branch schools that came to settle. They were the most powerful and largest school in Edo (later Tōkyō city), with influence over all the others who worked around them.
There is a theory which says that Masatsugu (正次), distant founder of the Itō School, was a member of the Umetada Myōju Mon. The names of Odawara Itō and Edo Itō have been left for posterity in this Ha (school).
In fact, there are two Itō schools: Edo Itō and Odawara Itō. The signatures and style of the tsuba on the Odawara Itō school and those on the Edo Itō school are different. From this fact alone we may see that there was a separation of the school into at least two branches. Others contend that the artists of the two branches are really the same workers and that they merely changed their place of residence, from Edo to Odawara, and did not change their style in the process. The city of Odawara was a metropolitan center when Edo was just a village. During the Muromachi age, Odawara was a very important center of power for the government. In the early development of the school they were probably a single group with a common style, but later members of the school changed their residence and at the same time changed their style. The Edo Itō School was very prosperous and received orders from the Shogunate. The Itō School became so popular that schools as far away as Chōshū felt compelled to adopt its style. The Itō School, along with the Shōami and Chōshū Schools, constituted the three largest and most dominate of the Edo age (1603-1868). The period of greatest influence of the Bushū on the Chōshū style does not appear until after the middle of the Edo age. By the end of the Edo age the influence of the Edo Itō school is dominant. On the whole these schools show good control of their material. The designs, though conventional, are well carved and the details are well handled. The style is gentle and quiet, expressing the peaceful age, and the luxury of the Shogunal court. The Edo Itō tsuba was beloved by the nobility as well as the commoner of Edo. Their best work was produced in the period from 1688 to about 1736.