Royal Armouries

Japanese glaive (naginata)

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Date: 1850 | Object number: XXVIL.191

blade length 410 mm
haft length 2346 mm
upper lacquered part 395 mm long
scabbard length 485 mm
weight 1950 g

Old Tower Collection

Japanese glaive (naginata)

Description

日本の薙刀

These weapons consisted of a heavy single-edged curved blade mounted on a shaft about two metres long. Earlier examples have long blades and proportionately shorter shafts. Very late examples having only light, diminutive blades were used by women.
Until 1600 they were popular weapons for individual combat, being wielded with wide circling cuts that could be delivered from any direction. Like spears, the blades were forged with a long tapering tang that reinforced the shaft. During the peaceful Edo period (1603–1867) they continued to be made for use in processions.

薙刀,江戸時代

The naginata was probably developed independently by the Japanese. It became a popular weapon among the warrior monks (sohei) from the 11th century onwards, and spread later to the samurai.

This example is from the 19th century when naginata were still in use as ceremonial and processional weapons.

blade length 410 mm
haft length 2346 mm
upper lacquered part 395 mm long
scabbard length 485 mm
weight 1950 g

Old Tower Collection

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