Royal Armouries

Japanese glaive (naginata)


Date: 1860 | Object number: AL.290 16

Japanese glaive (naginata)



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.

徳川 家茂の薙刀,江戸時代

The long tang of this blade fits into a cavity in the shaft and is secured by a peg. The mounts, with their punched decoration, are of exceptional quality.

This naginata is one of the set of staff weapons presented by Tokugawa Iemochi to Queen Victoria in 1860.

On loan from Her Majesty The Queen

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Japanese Weapons