Original 18th Century Edo Period Japanese Naginata Polearm with Handmade Blade and Scabbard - 85 5/8 Inches Long

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. The naginata (なぎなた, 薙刀) is a pole weapon and one of several varieties of traditionally made Japanese blades (nihontō). Naginata were originally used by the samurai class of feudal Japan, as well as by ashigaru (foot soldiers) and sōhei (warrior monks). The naginata is the iconic weapon of the onna-bugeisha, a type of female warrior belonging to the Japanese nobility. Naginata for fighting men and warrior monks were ō-naginata. The kind used by women was called ko-naginata.

This example dates from the mid Edo period (江戸時代, Edo jidai) or Tokugawa period (徳川時代, Tokugawa jidai) of Japanese history. This is the period between 1603 and 1867, when Japan was under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate and the country's 300 regional daimyo. The naginata measures 85 5/8” in overall length with an 72 3/4” long shaft (Ebu), so this example was almost certainly used for castle defense or use in the field against soldiers on horseback. It has a typical design wooden saya (scabbard).

The blade has the following period correct features:

- Folded steel blade (fold lines are evident on the spine and body of the blade)
- hole in the tang is punched and not drilled
- Blade wounds (kizu) or lamination artifacts are present on the blade. Both ware (lamination lines) and fukure (carbon pits) are visible.

The Blade of this example is 12 1/2" long, from the tip (kissaki) to the back notch (mune-machi), and the overall length including the tang is 17“. The tang is unsigned 無名 (mumei), or "anonymous". The blade has unfortunately saw much use and cleaning since the last polish, so the hamon is not visible. There are however lamination lines and some carbon pits present, which are definitive for a traditionally laminated blade.

The blade surface has light overall staining staining, however the edge is still good, and we do not see any real pitting. It has a bo'hi (fuller), which has been highlighted with red urushi lacquer, a very common embellishment. The blade has a Futsu 普通 (regular) Nakago (tang) with Kuri-jiri (symmetrical Rounded) nakago-jiri (tang tip).

The fittings of the naginata are fairly typical, with a long pole (ebu) that has some semegane (rings) around it to help hold it. It has a fuchi at the end that surrounds the end of the pole, but it has currently slide down against the mekugi-ana, as the pole has shrunk a bit, and the glue has dried out. There is a brass habaki around the end of the blade, as well as a minimal tsuba (crossguard) with two seppa (spacers) around it. There is a single pin (mekugi), though it is definitely a replacement. The bottom of the ebu (pole) has a carved hook shape wooden protrusion, possibly for locking it into a rack. The finish on the pole is unfortunately flaking off in most areas, but could easily be refinished if desired.

The saya (Scabbard) is of the typical style, black painted wood, and measures about 15 1/4” x 2 1/4“ at widest. It shows some damage at the bottom, as well as around the tip, most likely from use and storage.

A nice early 18th century Japanese Naginata Polearm, ready to display, if you have the room!


Blade Length: 17“ Overall
Edge Length: 12 1/2"
Tang Length: 4 1/2"
Overall length: 85 5/8“ (7 ft. 1 5/8 in.)
Pole Length: 72 3/4"
Scabbard Dimensions: 15 1/4” x 2 1/4”

NOTE: Will be shipped with the blade removed from the staff. It is too long to ship otherwise.

It has been over one thousand years ago that the art of making swords appeared in Japan. The swordsmiths of the time may not have known it but they were creating a legendary sword. The Samurai sword has seen combat in many battlefields. From the early days of the Samurai warrior to the fierce battles in the South Pacific during WWII.

Each hand-made Japanese blade (日本刀 - Nihonto) is unique because it is forged from multiple pieces of folded steel stock. A tremendous amount of work is dedicated to creating these pieces. They were an instrument of war as much as a beautiful artifact to adorn a room.

The traditional Japanese blade and mountings have grown to be one of the most highly desired military antiques.

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