Language: Japanese
Source: Kajihara Kotoken, 1989

Description

Yajirigata yari (鏃形槍) literally means "arrowhead-shaped spear". It is the name given to a particular type of Japanese spearhead that is said to be modeled after an arrowhead used by Chinzei Hachirō Tametomo (1139-1170).

 

Yairi-gata-yari

yajirigata yari by Echizen Yasutsugu.
Tokugawa Family Heirloom.
Sold by Mandarin Mansion in 2020.

 

Above is a piece I sold in 2020 that gives some context to the shape. The sayagaki was translated for me by Markus Sesko and reads:

 

Sayagaki

 

One side says:

槍大島合戦時鏃
鎮⻄八郎為朝公
越前康継模之

? yari Ōshima-kassenji no yajiri Chinzei Hachirō Tametomo kō Echizen Yasutsugu kore o katadoru

 

"Echizen Yasutsugu copied the arrowhead

used by Lord Chinzei Hachirō Tametomo (1139-1170) in the Battle of Ōshima

which was later remounted as a yari."

The other side says:

徳川家重代

Tokugawa-ke jūdai
 

"Heirloom of the Tokugawa family"

 

Such copies of important works were common, and especially the Yasutsugu line, with their close access to the imperial collection, was known to have made many. They were called utsushi. These replicas were made in part as a homage to a work that was held in great esteem, or as a project by the smith to challenge himself and learn the techniques of a past master. Some utsushi were used as presentation gifts.

In some cases, the utsushi later became important references when the original artwork had gone lost.

 

Chinzei Hachirō Tametomo (1139-1170)

Also known as Minamoto no Tametomo, was a samurai who famously fought in the Hōgen Rebellion of 1156. Has known as an unusually powerful archer, who according to legend managed to sink a ship with an arrow that hit the hull beneath the waterline. He was said to have had an unusual arm that was 4 inches longer than the other, which helped pull the bow further than most could. 

He was eventually captured by the enemy, who severed the sinews in his arm, rendering him unable to use the bow anymore. Not long afterward he committed seppuku, suicide by slicing open the abdomen. He is the first samurai in the chronicles to have done this.

Minamoto_Tametomo

Drawing of Chinzei Hachirō Tametomo
By Kikuchi Yōsai (1781-1878)

 

Further reading:

Full listing of the yajirigata yari sold here in 2020.

 

Notes
1. Kajihara Kotoken; Zusetsu Nihonto Yogo Jiten. (Swords of Japan a Visual Glossary). 1989.

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