A Bizen Naginata (Halberd) in Mounts
A Bizen Naginata (Halberd) in Mounts


A Bizen Naginata (Halberd) in Mounts
Nanbokucho period (14th century), attributed to Masamitsu
Sugata [configuration]: naginata-zukuri, iori-mune, slightly wide, even breadth and deep sori
Kitae [forging pattern]: ko-itame of fine and densely packed ji-nie with utsuri
Hamon [tempering pattern]: gunome midare and ko-gunome mixed with togari, ko-ashi fine sunagashi, nioi and ko-nie
Boshi [tip]: sugu ni ko-maru, saki hakikakeru
Horimono [carving]: both sides carved with naginata-hi and soe-bi
Nakago [tang]: o-surage, saki-kiri with katte-sagari file marks and two holes
Habaki [collar]: single, gilt-copper
Nagasa [length from tip to beginning of tang]: 23 5/8in. (60cm.)
Sori [curvature]: 2.4
Motohaba [width at start of tempered edge]: 1 1/16in. (2.6cm.) In shirasaya [wood storage scabbard]

Koshirae [set of mounts]: red-lacquer naginata-goshirae, Momoyama period (early 17th century)
With a certificate designating this sword as the 33rd Juyo token (Important sword) no. 8057 issued by the Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyokai (Society for the Preservation of the Japan Art Sword), dated 1987.3.25

Lot Essay

Bizen Masamitsu was a pupil of Kanemitsu of Osafune village in Bizen province. His work follows that of Tomomitsu, Motomitsu, and Kanemitsu with gunome impressed on ko-notare hamon, although many of his swords are in suguha. His hamon are characteristically well defined and gentle, and the hada usually has somewhat cloudy and undefined utsuri like on this sword.
There are blades signed Masamitsu dated to the Enbun (1356-1361) and Meitoku (1390-1394) eras, and others, which are possibly by a second generation, in the Oei (1394-1428) era.
The curve of this naginata is elegant and reminiscent of that of the few surviving Kamakura-period pieces, although the blade is long and of the even breadth associated with both tachi and naginata of the Nanbokucho period.

The red-lacquer saya is from the Momoyama period and is a fine example of an elegant, yet unadorned mount that was intended for use.

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