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Old 29th November 2022, 10:26 PM   #1
fernando
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Default A naginata ... real or fake.

Gentlemen, i am desperatly needing help on this one !
I felt tempted for this piece, without having absolutey no idea how to check these things genuinity. I have just disassembled the blade and i see inscriptions that could (could) be a good sign. I still have to spend some time to examine the whole piece integrity; some parts are a bit 'tired'. But before that, i would like so much to know whereas this is a real naginata or a worthless dud.
Any help will be appreciated,


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Old 29th November 2022, 10:40 PM   #2
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Fernando

Form looks legit. Can't read signature (posted upside down). In terrible shape. Can tell nothing of hamon nor hada. Would cost in four figures to properly restore (not a DIY project). Better be real inexpensive IMHO.

Last edited by Rich; 29th November 2022 at 11:38 PM.
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Old 30th November 2022, 02:50 AM   #3
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This is certainly a "real: naginata. It certainly dates from the Shinto- era - about 1700, I'd say, but I certainly can't read the signature - too rusty. We foreigners think nagtnata a complex, interesting, and graceful. Japanese collectors see them as "odd" and in Japan that is never good. This is not a good "investment" IMHO.
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Old 30th November 2022, 08:15 AM   #4
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Looks a genuine old naginata. Personally, I like to see such good old, honest signs of age and wear. Not so keen on the woodworm holes though. But, judging Japanese arms and armour is a very different thing compared to ethnographic/tribal.

I understand that naginata were particularly favoured as weapons by female samurai ?
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Old 30th November 2022, 11:01 AM   #5
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I would agree, it looks good and also not so far gone that it cannot be re-polished, but as Rich says, that is expensive but costed per inch of blade so less for a naginata than a long sword!

Unlike most other collectors, who tend to preserve the sword as it is, those who favour Japanese swords prefer them shiny to show off the grain and the hamon.

Naginata were used extensively by samurai warriors, by foot soldiers in battle and by samurai wives I think mostly as home defence.

The characters look much more than a signature and may well include a date or the place it was made. Dates are usually in a form relating to the year of the then emperor's reign.

Go for it!!
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Old 30th November 2022, 02:21 PM   #6
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Unfortunately, I can't translate the signature, but I really liked the calligraphy. Beautiful, strong, confident handwriting!
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Old 30th November 2022, 03:04 PM   #7
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Gentlemen, i am amazed with the excelent support given so far, for which i am so much obliged. It is visible that i am no Nihonto connoisseur, or i would never 'invest' in an example in such poor condition, thus having no chance to recuperate its original splendor. Still i am pleased to have gone for it, and so happy that it is the real thing, which was after all my actual concern.
So i assume that, having no risk to further damage its collectable charm, i will deal with it as i deal with 'normal Western' swords, that is, eliminate the active rust with the minimum abrazion possible and one or two touch ups on the pole.
Meanwile i would like to show what has been done on the blade, and will also post new photos of the characters, testing different lights and positions, with hopes that they are now (more) readable, which possible success would be of a great added valuable for me.
Again my appologies to those who collect this type of weaponry, hoping they will be tolerant to my crime.


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Old 30th November 2022, 03:30 PM   #8
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Interesting find Fernando. What is the overall length?

For my own edification. In a piece like this with evidence of an insect infestation does the piece need to be treated to prevent the risk of the infestation spreading to other items it is stored with?

Last edited by Interested Party; 30th November 2022 at 03:31 PM. Reason: follow up
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Old 30th November 2022, 04:03 PM   #9
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I think that is a super thing to have. Really like the thousands of pieces of shell .
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Old 30th November 2022, 05:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Interested Party View Post
Interesting find Fernando. What is the overall length?

For my own edification. In a piece like this with evidence of an insect infestation does the piece need to be treated to prevent the risk of the infestation spreading to other items it is stored with?
The whole thing measures 2,5 meters ... assuming one part originaly belonged to the other. The pole weighs 1.164 grams and the blade 512 grams. It won't be stored, but exposed somewhere i didn't yet decide. How would you eliminate the woodworm ? Funy thing; if i bump the floor cap down nothing happens, but if i hit it blade down a lot of dust comes out the holes. Could these worms be dead by now ?
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Old 30th November 2022, 05:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Simmons View Post
I think that is a super thing to have. Really like the thousands of pieces of shell .
.
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Old 30th November 2022, 07:42 PM   #12
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That is exactly the reason I do not collect Nihonto: it is supposed to be either perfect or it is junk

Last edited by Battara; 3rd December 2022 at 07:33 PM. Reason: wrong button
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Old 30th November 2022, 08:00 PM   #13
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my 2 cents; the tang (nakago) seems to be shortened, ending square and I would expect it to be about the same length as the blade part. At the japanese sword forum Nihonto Message Board they have a translation help section, advice would be to post it there. Signatures often follow patterns, in this case possibly: Provence name -honorary title- smith name-"made by". Please let us know what it turns out to be

Oh, and maybe redundant; don't clean/sand/polish/whatever the nakago. Color and filemarks are indicators of age.

Kind regards,
Eric
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Old 30th November 2022, 09:26 PM   #14
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Thank you Eric; will do. Someone is already helping me establish such contact.
And by the way; about the shortened tang:

http://www.ksky.ne.jp/~sumie99/naginata.html
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Old 30th November 2022, 10:32 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando View Post
How would you eliminate the woodworm ? Funy thing; if i bump the floor cap down nothing happens, but if i hit it blade down a lot of dust comes out the holes. Could these worms be dead by now ?
Hi Fernando,

Nice naginata. I have no problem with the condition of this naginata showing its age.
As for the wormholes, as soon as you see holes, the worms turned into bugs and left the wood to find mates to reproduce.
techincally they can lay eggs in the same wood again, but not likely.
Probably you can buy some poison in a drugstore. Also the worms dont like petrol and ammonia.
But be carefull with the lacquer I have no idea how that reacts on chemicals.

Sometimes I see wakizashi made from Naginata blades. they are reaaly cool

Best regards,
Willem
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Old 1st December 2022, 07:32 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Simmons View Post
... Really like the thousands of pieces of shell .

? - I presume you refer to the grip section wrapped in ray skin.


Naginata are cool. Wish I could afford one.


Re:tang - is the corresponding socket deeper than the tang length? Longer ones I think had two holes for the bamboo pins, does the haft have two? if broken, the missing bit may be still in there somewhere. It may even have been rehafted after breaking & the tang may fit accordingly. (I only see one hole for the meguki pin in the rayskin section.)

Last edited by kronckew; 1st December 2022 at 07:42 AM.
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Old 1st December 2022, 11:46 AM   #17
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My interest in Japanese arms faded some time ago but I retained some items including this naginata.

I post it here as it is a similar shape to Fernando's but it is of much poorer quality and I have doubted it's authenticity because of that. There is no signature on the tang but good file marks and a punched hole. The pole is missing some fittings. Perhaps it was mass produced for a foot soldier rather than a superior signed blade fit for a samurai.

It has also lost some red lacquer from the fuller which does not help the look. I decided give it the benefit of the doubt and kept it with no intention of making it shiny - just preserved.

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Old 1st December 2022, 05:43 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CutlassCollector View Post
I post it here as it is a similar shape to Fernando's but it is of much poorer quality and I have doubted it's authenticity because of that.
CC
Your item could very well be an imitation made in Siam or Vietnam. Then this is a significantly rarer thing than the original Japanese one. The first difference between objects from Indochina is the round section of the pole (in Japan, the section is usually oval). The second difference is the shorter tang. Philip wrote about it on the forum. I well remember that he noted that in Indochina they used natural resins for additional fastening and therefore there was no need to make long tang. There are other differences, but they relate to the details of the decor.
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Old 1st December 2022, 06:27 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew View Post
? - I presume you refer to the grip section wrapped in ray skin.
)
I am quite sure that this is mother of pearl lacquer.
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Old 1st December 2022, 07:23 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asomotif View Post
I am quite sure that this is mother of pearl lacquer.
Yes, of course.
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Old 1st December 2022, 08:14 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew View Post
... I presume you refer to the grip section wrapped in ray skin...
Mother of pearl, as already confirmed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew View Post
...Naginata are cool. Wish I could afford one ...
Mine wasn't expensive; obviously due to its condition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew View Post
...Re:tang - is the corresponding socket deeper than the tang length? Longer ones I think had two holes for the bamboo pins, does the haft have two? if broken, the missing bit may be still in there somewhere. It may even have been rehafted after breaking & the tang may fit accordingly. (I only see one hole for the meguki pin in the rayskin section.)
After disassembling it and before mounting it back, i had a good look and must conclude that the blade and the haft were not made for each other. Some story i can't figure out. The mekugi hole does not coincide with the hole on the blade ... by over an inch.The blade has not been broken but cut off; maybe for the version to adapt it to a wakizashi, as already approached ... i wouldn't know.

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Old 1st December 2022, 09:13 PM   #22
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Unless I missed it, no one has translated the signature of this blade. With the clearer image that is possible. And it let's me correct my earlier assessment.
This blade is signed Nanto ju Kanebo Masatsugu. (MAS1654)
He was a smith who made polearms in the Yamato district (call it Nara) in the early 1500's
I had assumed that it was later than that. and naginata that date before 1600 are both RARE and GOOD.
This blade would certainly warrent a polish.
Peter Bleed
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Old 1st December 2022, 09:18 PM   #23
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Fantastic Peter !
Thank you ever so much .
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Old 2nd December 2022, 03:11 AM   #24
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What is " mother of pearl" lacquer?
Never heard of it. Can somebody explain?
Thanks.
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Old 2nd December 2022, 10:22 AM   #25
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What is " mother of pearl" lacquer?
Never heard of it. Can somebody explain?
Thanks.
Forget the "lacquer"; call it "inlay" .
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Old 2nd December 2022, 01:06 PM   #26
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Looks like you did well there, Fernando. Congratulations !
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Old 2nd December 2022, 02:01 PM   #27
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Thank you Colin .
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Old 3rd December 2022, 12:47 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asomotif View Post
... Probably you can buy some poison in a drugstore. Also the worms dont like petrol and ammonia.
But be carefull with the lacquer I have no idea how that reacts on chemicals ...
Thank you Willem. I went for ammonia; bought a bottle of it in the drugstore. I keep syringes and needles since my paramedic service in the Army. One of these days i will give it a try; starting by the bottom, to check if the liquid stains the wood.
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Old 3rd December 2022, 07:34 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel View Post
That is exactly the reason I do not collect Nihonto: it is supposed to be either perfect or it is junk
I'll make a small correction to this statement: if the blade is very old, like Koto (500+ years old) or so, then some flaws are in fact expected and do not detract horribly to the value. Old blades like this may have some kizu or blisters, but where they are on the blade and how they are positioned will determine value. On later pieces, Ariel is correct - perfection is preferred if not expected.

(Sorry Ariel for the accidental editing - wrong button )
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Old 3rd December 2022, 11:10 PM   #30
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Thank you Willem. I went for ammonia; bought a bottle of it in the drugstore. I keep syringes and needles since my paramedic service in the Army. One of these days i will give it a try; starting by the bottom, to check if the liquid stains the wood.
Freezing is an efficient way of getting rid of wood worm and possible eggs. I guess the sword is too big to fit in a freezer? I have a French Napoleonic sabre AN XI legere with woodworm holes in the grip. I simply waited until winter and left it on the balcony for a couple of days in sub-zero Celsius temperatures to kill any remaining worms or eggs. Guess in Portugal you donít have that luxury?
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