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Dear All,

As restrictions on movement start to be lifted I am hoping to start to have the chance to study some more swords. In the meantime the pool is becoming somewhat limited so this may be the last kantei I can post for a little while. It is also possible that the blade here is familiar to some of you. Normally when doing kantei the blade should be ubu or at least have the mei intact and have been authenticated. It should also be a piece that exhibits the traits of a given school or smith. This is not always possible. In this case we are looking at a naginata-naoshi which has been substantially modified from it's original form and is mumei. Therefore to reach a conclusion one needs to focus on such dimensions as are original (nagasa and thickness) and more particularly on the hada and hamon.

Description: The blade is a Naginata Naoshi wakizashi.

 Nagasa: The blade is 17.6 inches. The Kasane is 8mm. the blade is Mitsu-mune. There are classic Naginata hi which are well cut and in excellent condition. The shape is a classic Naginata sugata

. Hada: The blade is a combination of itame and Nagare hada covered in thick and bright Ji-nie with chickei mixed in. As the hada approaches the hamon it tends more towards masame.

 Hamon: The Hamon is Suguha with deep Nioi and thick, bright nie. There is Nijuba and Sunagashi. There is clear mune-yaki.

 Boshi: Yakitsume with considerable hakikake. Nakago: O-suriage Mumei. Beautiful colour and well maintained.







Juyo Zufu Shikkake_WEB.1.jpg

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If I ever again manage to get 15 minutes free time, I'll also give it a go.
But not looking good lately. Sheesh....I need a vacation or a break. Thanks for the efforts though Paul. Good looking sword. Maybe the masame will be the key here.

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Yes but I can not be sure that I wouldn’t change my answer without it. 
I can explain exactly how I did it but want to let others have the fun I had.


I learned some things that will definitely help me in the Future to distinguish. :) 

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Dear All,

with no further suggestions since Monday I believe this has run it's course. answer and explanation listed below:


The blade has been attributed to the Shikkake School of the late Kamakura/early Nambokucho period. It was awarded a Juyo attribution in the 46th session. Congratulations to those who took part and got the correct answer.

I think it is reasonable to say that Naginata Naoshi are not normally found with Juyo certification. In line with the NBTHK definitions the blade has to be of high quality workmanship and in line with the characteristics of the school. So why was this mumei, much altered, blade awarded this level of certificate?

I hope the following may offer some explanation

Shape: Allowing that the shape of the blade has been changed the naginata retains the elegant, almost gentle sugata associated with blades produced in the Kamakura period. As the Nambokucho progressed swords generally became more robust and larger. In the case of Naginata they became longer, broader and the curve at the kissaki deepened. They just got a lot bigger! So the shape points towards the Kamakura period.

Hada and Hamon: As said above the workmanship is clearly visible and of very high quality. When compared to the descriptions of what one should expect of the Shikkake School this sword exhibits every listed feature and they are all clearly visible in hada, hamon and boshi. Having established it to be the work of the Shikkake School, further examination pin-points it more precisely. Established references confirm that the quality of later Shikkake work falls off. This manifests itself as a reduction in activity in the hamon, much less Ji-nie and more open hada.

 Taking these points into account this sword can only be the work of the earlier Shikkake School, thus supporting the opinion already expressed based on the shape of the sword.


The Yamato tradition offers a lot of challenges in kantei, not least that so few of their blades were signed. I think they also have a reputation for being utilitarian and lacking the artistry of other schools. I think this is unfair especially when looking at the early works of the Tiama school, Tegai Kanenaga and Shikkake Norinaga. The problem I think is that as with so many schools quality reduced as time progressed and most blades we see, which tend to be late Tegai work, do not reflect the quality of earlier pieces.

Also the differences in the schools can be very subtle. We have all seen examples of blades being papered to one school and then on resubmission to another. One needs to look at the fine detail and try and come to a judgement which is what I believe the Shinsa panel did with this work. It had all the features they expected to see in a Shikkake blade and the level of quality to place it at the earlier period of the school’s production.

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