Japanese yari
Overall length

Sheathed 107 cm

With shaft 104.5 cm

Unmounted 61.8 cm

Head length

Tip to base 42.5 cm

Blade length 39.2 cm

Blade thickness

Base 12.5 mm

Center 10 mm

5 cm from tip 8 mm

Blade width

Base 29 mm

Center 28 mm

5 cm from tip 25 mm

Weight

558 grams

Materials

Iron, steel, urushi lacquer

Shirasaya: wood and bamboo

Origin

Echizen, Japan

Dating

Circa 1688-1704

Provenance

Imported from Japan

Price €2700, -

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Description

A large Japanese spearhead called yari. It is of typical form, but larger and more elongated, with nearly parallel sides, a strong point, and a triangular cross-section. At the base just above the tang, it becomes five facets.

The blade is very tightly forged, its steel surface showing a straight wood grain pattern (masame hada). The temperline (hamon) is a very subtle suguha (straight temperline) in nioi-deki (cloudy martensite), emphasized by a kesho polish.

The most striking feature is the large fuller on the flat side, of a type called kusabi-hi (楔樋) which literally means "wedge-groove".Irregularly cut and highlighted with red lacquer, its aggressive appearance provides a stark contrast with the otherwise cold precision of the piece.

It comes in a well-made plain wooden resting scabbard (shirasaya).

 

Yari shirasaya

 

Nakago (tang)

Of rectangular cross-section, it starts very thick and gradually tapers down. It has one hole for a peg (mekugi ana) for securing it to the shaft.

It is signed:

伊勢大掾下坂光廣

Ise daijō Shimosaka Mitsuhiro

Mitsuhiro was active in Echizen around the Genroku period (1688-1704). He was part of the Shimosaka school, founded by first-generation Yasutsugu. Ise daijō is an official title granted by the imperial court.

"Itame mixed with masame, blackish jigane, suguha with compact nioiguchi, he signed with a rather
thick chisel in a barely legible manner composed of short and thick chisel strokes." 
2

Among his works are mainly yari, such as this one.

 

Notes
1. The Kashima Sisters; Grooves on swords and their meaning. Ksky.ne.jp
2. Markus Sesko; Swordsmiths of Japan. Lulu, Inc. 2015. Page 621.

Shimosaka Mitsuhiro yari with red lacquered groove called kusabi-hi
Shimosaka Mitsuhiro yari with red lacquered groove called kusabi-hi
Shimosaka Mitsuhiro yari with red lacquered groove called kusabi-hi
Shimosaka Mitsuhiro yari with red lacquered groove called kusabi-hi
Shimosaka Mitsuhiro yari with red lacquered groove called kusabi-hi
Shimosaka Mitsuhiro yari with red lacquered groove called kusabi-hi
Shimosaka Mitsuhiro yari with red lacquered groove called kusabi-hi
Shimosaka Mitsuhiro yari with red lacquered groove called kusabi-hi
Shimosaka Mitsuhiro yari with red lacquered groove called kusabi-hi
Shimosaka Mitsuhiro yari with red lacquered groove called kusabi-hi
Shimosaka Mitsuhiro yari with red lacquered groove called kusabi-hi
Shimosaka Mitsuhiro yari with red lacquered groove called kusabi-hi
Shimosaka Mitsuhiro yari with red lacquered groove called kusabi-hi

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