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Naginata Naoshi


md02geist
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Looks very enjoyable!

 

Do you know if the boshi was modified?

 

Can anyone tell me if this kind of modification is less likely on “high quality” blades? Or is there no pattern and an unaltered boshi simply more desirable on any naginata Naoshi?

 

I.e., was special effort made to preserve the boshi when prized blades were converted from naginata to katana/wakizashi? Or is there not necessarily a pattern?

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Not sure of any modification as it's a pretty old blade by mine and a few others estimation. The boshi does turn back as normal, it's just not particularly visible in the pictures. You can somewhat see it in the middle picture of the second post, top line of pictures.

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Not sure of any modification as it's a pretty old blade by mine and a few others estimation. The boshi does turn back as normal, it's just not particularly visible in the pictures. You can somewhat see it in the middle picture of the second post, top line of pictures.

Ah okay! Cool. Mostly was looking for an opportunity to pose a question that’s been on my mind. :-)

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Looks very enjoyable!

 

Do you know if the boshi was modified?

 

Can anyone tell me if this kind of modification is less likely on “high quality” blades? Or is there no pattern and an unaltered boshi simply more desirable on any naginata Naoshi?

 

I.e., was special effort made to preserve the boshi when prized blades were converted from naginata to katana/wakizashi? Or is there not necessarily a pattern?

 

Hello,

 

The shape of the tip we see here has definitely been modified from what was original on this sword. Overall the current shape of this sword should have been readjusted at the time of its last polish, imo. Otherwise, the surface finish looks to be quite decent. A new Shinsa would be of interest. 

 

An unaltered sword is certainly more desirable. Good polishers always try to preserve as much of the original sword as possible. In the end the finished product is highly dependent upon the ability and skill of the polisher. 

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Michael

To add to Franco's point. It is generally not possible to convert a naginata into a naginata naoshi without modfying the kissaki and therefore the boshi. Almost every naginata naoshi I have seen have a yakitsume (no turn back) boshi as the top end of the blade has to be reduced from the original stronger curve seen on naginata. 

The amount of metal removed will obviously vary considerably and depend on the original shape. I have had several interesting discussions recently about how this amount of metal was removed with apparently not effecting the integrity of the remaining boshi. I am guessing it was ground down but if anyone else knows or has a better idea I would love to hear it.

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Dear Michael.

 

First of all thank you for sharing your blade with us, it's always good to see someone's latest treasure.

 

Secondly, if this does have a clear turn back in the boshi then what sort of shape naginata do you think it would have been?  If you want to, have a go at an oshigata of the blade and then add to it a naginata shape and reconstruct what might have happened with the hamon.  The other possibility is of course that this sword was made as it now is, apart from the suriage.  

 

Another point to consider is the nakago.  It is clearly not naginata shaped so if naginata naoshi then what is now the nakago must originally have been part of the blade.  If that is the case then what does that suggest about the positioning of the hi?

 

No answers here, just observations and nothing to detract from the sword itself.

 

Enjoy.

 

All the best.

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I would very much agree that what is now the nakago was at one point part of the blade; positioning of the hi as you state seems to indicate this to me, as it goes well below the habaki. I wonder if it was a blade damaged or broken at some point, and but the upper portion of a fairly longer blade salvaged or similar.

 

To my eyes (please feel free to comment if you see differently) it looks koto to me rather than a stylish Edo naoshi. In addition, despite the sayagaki saying Rai it seems *to me* (and to a few others who have looked at it) to look very Naminohira.

 

The shape of it does to my eyes look like a partial Kamakura naginata, although obviously cut down and/or modified.

 

Thoughts?

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Also y'all are correct; the boshi does not turn back. I apologize, my lighting was insufficient and I thought I saw something I didn't.

 

 

All discussion and pointing out of stuff is very much welcome to me. I'm still only a little bit into learning so I have a long ways to go.

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Hi Rob

I dont think it is an Edo piece. The steel looks old (to me at least.) I am also struggling to see Rai in this not only the hada but the shape even allowing for it being heavily modified would seem A-typical. Not sure about the enthusiastic attribution to Naminohira but then I haven't studied that school too much. What is leading you and "others" in that direction?

As Geraint said this doesn't detract from the blade which  I think is interesting and worthy of having some time spent identifying the detail of what you are seeing.. 

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So now that we’re here I can ask my question again with more clarity (and apologies for the kind of circuitous first attempt):

 

If this WERE Rai, would that make it more likely to have an unmodified, original boshi? Or is there no correlation between the level of the naginata naoshi and whether or not the boshi is original (an original boshi simply being more desirable)?

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Michael

I think the answer to your question is no. The modification to the shape taking it from a naginata to effectively a wakazashi is necessary to enable the blade to function in its new intended purpose, i.e. as a short sword rather than a blade on the end of a pole. The deep curve typically at the end of an original naginata makes it impractical unless it has that curve considerably reduced. This is the case regardless of who made it.

There might be an argument not to change it at all if it were by a very highly rated smith but I think as there are examples of blades by some of the finest smiths being modified over time I think it unlikely.

The other point regarding this practice is that if a family had a blade that was especially precious to them but not longer needed as a pole arm they would have it modified to enable it to continue to be used. The process of changing it's shape is time consuming and difficult so to go to the likely expense it would seem reasonable that it was a good sword in the first place.

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Michael 

you are absolutely right but we are talking at cross purposes a little. both of the blades on Darcy's site are what I would call nagamaki rather than Naginata. I know this is no longer strictly applied as it tends to relate more to mounting than blade. But in the past these much longer blades fitted on a shorter pole were identifed as nagamaki. They did not have the deep turnback of the kissaki more typically seen in naginata and therefore did not require the end of the kissaki to be removed. In the OP the position of the hi if original suggests this was a shorter blade therefore naginata.

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To try and clarify this a little more:

The blades on Darcy's site are 75cm and 68cm respectively. Below is a naginata naoshi by the Shikkake master Norinaga and dates from much rthe same time as the Naoe Shizu, perhaps 50 years earlier. the sugata is 49cm and from the positioning of the hi I would guess originally it would have been no more than 52cm. The two longer blades are likely to be in an unaltered state other than a shortened nakago and the machi moved up a couple of cm. Typically these longer naginata/nagamaki did not have the exagerated recurve one sees on original shorter naginata. The one below would have had a much deeper return than either of the longer blades and the top section would have been removed.

I think, based on the positioning of the hi the blade illustrated in the OP was of the shorter type. therefore I would expect it to have originally had a greater return at the kissaki and for this to have been removed when the blade was modified.

 

post-15-0-09035600-1541666641_thumb.jpg

post-15-0-85257100-1541666665_thumb.jpg

 

 

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 It is generally not possible to convert a naginata into a naginata naoshi without modfying the kissaki and therefore the boshi. 

 

Hello,

 

What I would add to what Paul is saying is that every example should be judged separately. And, the presence of some turn back does not necessarily indicate some modification hasn't taken place. Careful assessment of the boshi as well the overall shape of the sword has to be taken into account together.

 

Older swords such as these naginata naoshi have very likely undergone multiple polishes in their lifetime. Which leaves the possibility that something may have been misshaped and then never properly corrected. A polisher that is excellent in both foundation work and finish is worth every penny they charge, and nowhere is that more apparent than in some of these naginata naoshi examples.

 

Further: (sorry, I'm just catching up with these newer posts)

 

Paul, I would be very cautious about entering into the naginata vs nagamaki  judgement/debate based upon the current shape. The NBTHK is wise in simply calling these naginata (naoshi) unless there is historical evidence to back it up. We would be wise to do the same.

 

While it may be entertaining to surmise the reasons behind the modifications we see, wakizashi, katana, my thought is since form follows function, they must have had such a reason. And while we can guess, in truth we may never really know. So, just be content with what you have.

 

One final point is that the use of naginata spanned many centuries and over that time shape changes occurred, which that in itself needs to be studied. 

Edited by nagamaki - Franco
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Hi Franco

Yes I think you are right I am afraid old habits die hard and one of my favourite swords for for many years was one that a friend bought from the A.Z Freeman collection and which now resides in the Royal Armouries. That was a typical long naginata naoshi  but described in the catalogue as a Nagamaki-naoshi. I think it has stuck in my mind since I first held it. It is now on display at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds and a beautiful example of Nambokucho Bizen work.

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