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Old 5th September 2016, 05:48 PM   #1
estcrh
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Default Massive Indian spear (sang)

These two Indian spear heads are huge, I was wondering if they were meant for use against a horse or even elephants due to their size and weight. one is 20 inches long, 2.5 inches wide and just under 3lbs, the other is 18.5 inches long, 2.75 inches wide and 2lb 8.3oz. They appear to be quite old, probably at least 18th century if not older. Does anyone have any info on how exactly these would have been used, or any other examples as there are only a couple of available images online.
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Last edited by estcrh : 5th September 2016 at 08:16 PM.
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Old 5th September 2016, 06:47 PM   #2
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I can't say whether these would have been used against elephant or horse but the top example with the curved blade is a Sri Lankan form. The decoration on the spear head supports this with the wavy decoration found on other Sri Lankan spearheads called patisthanaya.

See previous discussions:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=13072
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Old 5th September 2016, 08:31 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArmsAndAntiques
the top example with the curved blade is a Sri Lankan form. The decoration on the spear head supports this with the wavy decoration found on other Sri Lankan spearheads called patisthanaya.

See previous discussions:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=13072


The recurved blade form is also a known Indian type, I am not sure if it has the same characteristics as a Sri Lanken sang which seem to be much more decorated but with so few images available it is hard to say for sure. The previous owner said that Egerton identifies this form as "Sangu" from Tinnevelli, and states that they had rough wood hafts. Tinnevelli was the historic second stronghold of the Marathas who were driven out by Muslims in the 18th century. This is the only one I have seen with a medial ridge.

Below is an Indian recurved sang and some illustrations of Sri Lankan spear forms.

Quote:
Indian steel spear head with chiselled decoration at the forte, wavy blade with incised fullers and two projecting collars to the ferrule, 18th century. Powis Castle.
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Old 6th September 2016, 12:47 AM   #4
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Certainly not in dispute that there were South Indian forms of this type but the decoration on the socket feels Sri Lankan. That being said the socket is more of a South Indian style.

The story of the interaction in arms and armor between Sri Lanka and South Indian has yet to be written though perhaps there are knowledgeable forum-ites who can guide that discussion.
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Old 6th September 2016, 01:33 PM   #5
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This is a very interesting topic since the deployment of spears on the battlefield was a well known tactic and weaponry of this nature was effective against horse and elephant. Indeed spear sword and shield were very effective weapons down at infantry level. The spear was not outmoded until fire arms were invented....even then the bayonet illustrates how much the infantry still relied upon the "spear"..
The European Partisan spear is virtually the same as many Asian variants particularly the Sri Lankan .. It is obvious that some kind of design drift/copy was evident though spears are an ancient form in those countries long before any of the European invaders. In the vanguard of these European armies were spearmen with Partisan spears. Please see http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=8187 However, there were many others..

Mughal Spears

The usual generic name used for spears of all kinds was sinan. The head or point was called the sunain and the butt the hunain. There were several varieties of this class of weapon. Cavalry troops generally used a lance (nezah) with other types of spear used by foot soldiers and guards surrounding the emperor's audience hall. There is also some evidence, particularly among the Marathas, for the use of a javelin or short spear, which was thrown.

Nezah A cavalry lance with a small steel head and a long bamboo shaft carried by nezah-bazan (lance-wielders), this weapon featured prominently in Maratha equipment with no enemy cavalry said to be able to withstand them. In battle some 20,000 to 30,000 lances were ranged against the enemy, packed closely together so as not to leave any space between the bearer's heads. If horsemen tried to ride the lance-wielders down, the points of their spears impacted with the oncoming riders, who were then unhorsed. When used during a cavalry charge, the nezah struck against the enemy's weapons, making so much noise that it frightened the opponents' horses such that they turned around and bolted. In normal use, a man on horseback held his spear above his head at the full length of his arm. Mainly used by cavalry; Material; Bamboo, Steel.

Barchhah A Mughal weapon also used by the Marathas. With a head and shaft made wholly of iron or steel, use of this heavy spear was confined to infantry as it would prove too heavy for men on horseback.
Mainly used by Infantry; Material; Steel.

Sang Made entirely of iron, this spear was much shorter than the barchhah although some exist that are 7.11 feet (2.17 m) long, of which the head accounting for 2.6 feet (0.79 m). The weapon possessed long, slender, three or four-sided heads, steel shafts, and had a grip covered with velvet.
Used by Infantry. Material Iron

Sainthi The shaft was shorter than that of the sang.
Selarah A spear with a head and shaft longer than those of the sainthi but not so long as those of the sang.
Ballam A spear, pike, or lance with barbed heads and wooden shafts and a total length of 5.11 feet (1.56 m), of which the blade took up 18 inches (460 mm). The Ballam was a short spear with a broad head.
Used by infantry. Infantry
Pandi-ballam A hog-spear with an iron leaf-shaped blade at the end of a bamboo shaft with a total length of 8.3 feet (2.5 m), of which the blade accounted for 2.3 feet (0.70 m).
Bamboo and steel or iron.

Panjmukh Five-headed spear used by the people of Gujarat Used in Gujarat
Lange A Mughal lance with a four-cornered iron head and a hollow shaft
Garhiya Pike, javelin, spear
Alam Spear (properly a standard or banner)
Kont Spear
Gandasa A kind of bill-hook or pole-axe with a steel chopper attached to a long pole.
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Old 6th September 2016, 04:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArmsAndAntiques
Certainly not in dispute that there were South Indian forms of this type but the decoration on the socket feels Sri Lankan. That being said the socket is more of a South Indian style.

The story of the interaction in arms and armor between Sri Lanka and South Indian has yet to be written though perhaps there are knowledgeable forum-ites who can guide that discussion.


I can not find many verifiable Sri Lankan example to compare with. Their spears are really under represented online.

As for what a "sang" is this is also a bit clouded. For the massive spears which are considered to be "sang" there are only a handful of examples to compare against as well.

Below is one from Gavin, the style if anything could possibly be Shi Lankan but even Gavin described it as "South Indian or Singhalese".

Quote:
South Indian or Singhalese sang lance / spearhead, an exceptional example, stunning chiseled steel, all gilded silver intact, a very fine and rare find, late 16th-early 17th century.
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Old 6th September 2016, 06:58 PM   #7
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Part of the problem is the different terms currently being used to describe spears from Sri lanka, you need to search all of the currently used terms to find the available images. Some known examples of Sri Lankan / Sinhalese / Patisthanaya / Ceylon spears.
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Old 6th September 2016, 07:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
Does anyone have any info on how exactly these would have been used, or any other examples as there are only a couple of available images online.

The largest of your spearheads is common cavalry lance (not for hunting) that were more than 2 m. long with very thick staff. It is from North (?) or more probably from Central India, second half of 18 century I suppose. Unfortunately any attempts to identify names or terms for Indian spears will be no more than speculations. This is a big problem (((
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Old 6th September 2016, 07:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mercenary
The largest of your spearheads is common cavalry lance (not for hunting) that were more than 2 m. long with very thick staff. It is from North (?) or more probably from Central India, second half of 18 century I suppose. Unfortunately any attempts to identify names or terms for Indian spears will be no more than speculations. This is a big problem (((
Thanks, not much info available or images of the large Indian spears that are called "sang".
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Old 6th September 2016, 07:58 PM   #10
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Like yours:
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Old 6th September 2016, 09:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mercenary
Like yours:
Yes very close, how long is yours?
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Old 6th September 2016, 10:04 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
Yes very close, how long is yours?

This one is not mine
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Old 6th September 2016, 08:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
Thanks, not much info available or images of the large Indian spears that are called "sang".

All the names of Indian spears during the last three centuries have been used indiscriminately. Even in India.

For the most part the term "sang" meant "javelin" or very thin and light spear.
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Old 6th September 2016, 10:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mercenary
All the names of Indian spears during the last three centuries have been used indiscriminately. Even in India.

For the most part the term "sang" meant "javelin" or very thin and light spear.


Stone has "sang" twice??? I guess even he was confused, to add even more confusion he also has "sangu" with what looks like a similar spear.
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Old 7th September 2016, 01:13 AM   #15
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From Egerton. "Arms of the Aboriginal and Dravidian races of Southern India".
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Last edited by estcrh : 7th September 2016 at 09:43 AM.
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