Royal Armouries

Japanese Spear (yari)

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Date: 1850 | Object number: XXVIL.282

head length 151 mm
haft length 3534 mm
lacquered section 478 mm
yari kuda 93 mm
yari weight 2200 g
yari kuda weight 200 g

Japanese Spear (yari)

Description

日本の槍

In the middle ages, Japanese foot soldiers, both samurai and retainers (ashigaru), used a variety of spears and two-handed cutting weapons. The spears were called yari and were usually long-hafted with short heads.

The hafts were often covered with lacquer for decoration and to protect the wood. The heads had long tangs inside the haft, fixed in position by wooden pegs in the same way that sword blades were retained. Many spears were fitted with one or two additional blades, and called magari yari or jumonji yari.

During the Edo period (1603-1867) yari were still produced for ceremonial and display purposes, the shape of their scabbards having heraldic significance. However, they were still closely based on the practical weapons made for combat during previous centuries.

This long spear unusually retains its original guarded spear tube (yari kuda) in black lacquer, decorated with the mon of the Sakai family. This protected the left hand and helped to steady and guide the yari during combat.

The haft is of plain red oak. The original lacquered scabbard survives.

head length 151 mm
haft length 3534 mm
lacquered section 478 mm
yari kuda 93 mm
yari weight 2200 g
yari kuda weight 200 g

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