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Lot 28B: Naginata, signed by 清長 Kiyonaga, Japanese Samurai sword, Kenji period (1275-1278 AD);

Eternity Gallery

September 25, 2022
Tampa, FL, US

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Description

Naginata, signed by 清長 Kiyonaga, Japanese Samurai sword, Kenji period (1275-1278 AD); Toko Taikan rating: ¥6.5M = $49,741 USD; Hawley rating: 50; Signature on the tang: 清長 Kiyonaga; Father: Kiyokage 清景; Era: Kenji 1275-1278 AD, Province: Suō; Total Length: 21.8 inches = 55.5 cm; Length of the blade only: 13.25 inches = 33.5 cm; Sori - 17 mm; Weight of the blade only: 427 g; Weight (blade + Habaki): 448 g; Habaki – old copper; 刃文, hamon effect: moderate; Provenance: Estate sale of American officer in Gordon, Texas, USA. The naginata (なぎなた, 薙刀) is a pole weapon and one of several varieties of traditionally made Japanese blades (nihontō).[1][2] Naginata were originally used by the samurai class of feudal Japan, as well as by ashigaru (foot soldiers) and sōhei (warrior monks).[3] The naginata is the iconic weapon of the onna-bugeisha, a type of female warrior belonging to the Japanese nobility. Naginata for fighting men and warrior monks were ō-naginata. The kind used by women was called ko-naginata. It is generally believed that naginata first appeared in the Heian period,[10] but there is a theory that it is unclear when it first appeared because the physical evidence of their existence dates only from the mid-Kamakura period and there were various notations of naginata in the Heian period.[9] Earlier 10th through 12th century sources refer to "long swords" that while a common medieval term or orthography for naginata, could also simply be referring to conventional swords; one source describes a naginata being drawn with the verb nuku, commonly associated with swords, rather than hazusu, the verb otherwise used in medieval texts for unsheathing naginata.[9] Some 11th and 12th century mentions of hoko may actually have been referring to naginata.[11] The commonly assumed association of the naginata and the sōhei is also unclear. Artwork from the late-13th and 14th centuries depict the sōhei with naginata but do not appear to place any special significance to it: the weapons appear as just one of a number of others carried by the monks, and are used by samurai and commoners as well.[12] Depictions of naginata-armed sōhei in earlier periods were created centuries after the fact, and are likely using the naginata as a symbol to distinguish the sōhei from other warriors, rather than giving an accurate portrayal of the events.[13] In the peaceful Edo Period, weapons' value as battlefield weapons became diminished and their value for martial arts and self-defense rose. The naginata was accepted as a status symbol and self-defense weapon for women of nobility, resulting in the image that "the Naginata is the main weapon used by women".[citation needed] A naginata was commonly a dowry of women of the nobility. But historical recordings describing the practice of martial arts by women are rare and uncertain.

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