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Old 26th April 2009, 09:22 AM   #1
Jens Nordlunde
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Default South Indian stone relief

The pictures are from an old stone relief from South India, and shows a fighting scene. Look at the sword the man to the right is using, it is almost a katar hilt, but the weapon is surely a sword, as it is too long to be a dagger. I am not sure, but I seem to remember that the text said it was from between the 12th and the 15th century. Can anyone tell more about it?
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Old 26th April 2009, 02:45 PM   #2
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Looking closer at the relief, I doubt that I have remembered correctly. If you compare it to the ones shown in Elgood's book Hindu Arms and Ritual, it looks more like fifteenth or sixteenth century.
When the big picture is blown up, one can see that the man with the sword has a dagger at his side. I admit it is not easy to see, but notice that he has no scabbard for his sword.
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Old 26th April 2009, 04:45 PM   #3
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Perhaps it is meant to depict pata rather than jamdar/katar. Would the time frame of this relief be correct for this type of weapon?
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Old 26th April 2009, 07:19 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P.Abrera
Perhaps it is meant to depict pata rather than jamdar/katar. Would the time frame of this relief be correct for this type of weapon?

I always thought that Pata was later, more to the North and had flexible bade ( not to mentioning the shell). Tanjore katar, you mean? Might be, might be.
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Old 26th April 2009, 07:44 PM   #5
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Post Early Katar

Jens,
The weapon seems to be a 'hooded' type of Katar - the early Vijaynagar type.

Yes, if the 'hooded' katar has a longer blade (very often firangi blades) we can call it a pata and we see this form of a pata used in Vijaynagar times too, but if you observe the warrior you also see him using a similar weapon in his left hand.

The Pata and khanda were probably the most difficult weapons to use in battle and I feel it would be difficult even for a very experienced warrior to use patas in both his hands.

So I believe the weapon is a Katar of the early hooded type.

The figure, if the weapons were hidden could also be from earlier times (Hoysala - 12th - 13th C. A.D.) but we do not see this form of a Katar or Pata used then and so I would say it is Vijaynagar (15-16th C. A.D.).

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Old 27th April 2009, 12:58 PM   #6
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Default Katar Pics from Elgoods Book

Hello Jens,

Attached are some cropped photo's of temple statues also from Elgoods book, "Hindu Arms and Ritual" from page 148. They are of 16th century, Katars from Seshagirirayar Mandapa Ranganatha Temple, Srirangam.

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Old 27th April 2009, 01:06 PM   #7
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More pics from Elgoods book showing examples of katar of type in stone statues...

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Old 27th April 2009, 02:49 PM   #8
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Hello All, thank you for your comments on this topic, which I find interesting.

I am truly sorry I did not write down from where the relief is, and how old it is, as there are some problems with the age.

Look at the sword on the relief I show, the hilt is katar like, but not centred precisely over the blade, and there are no side guards, which I find rather interesting, as protection of the hand/arm must have been a must. This could, maybe, suggest an early type of sword/dagger, but look also at the blade, it is very heavy and thick, either to give it more weight, or because they did not have the technique to make the blades thinner. However the relief could also describe something which had happened centuries before, and the artist could have wanted to show the scene as he thought it would have looked like at the time. If it is the one or the other, we will never know, as I am unlikely to find the picture again.

Look at the pictures, which Rand shows from Elgood’s book, the katar blade shown, looks thin, so in the 16th century they could make thin blades, even on stone reliefs, and with fine details as well – unlike the sword on the relief I have shown, where the details on the relief itself, like Nidhi mentions, are fine, but not the sword blade.

Nidhi, does the warrior on the relief I show have two swords, or is the one in his left hand a kind of a square shield? I have read about someone fighting with two katars, but I have never read about someone fighting with two patas. I would think that would be impossible, as fighting with one, was said to be only for very well trained warriors. It was difficult to master it, but when they did, it was a very deadly weapon.

So the sword/katar on the relief I have shown shows a primitive type of weapon, but when you look at the katar from Elgood’s book, from the 16th century. You see, not only a fully developed katar, but a very refined one as well.

Any further comments to the two reliefs?
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Old 27th April 2009, 04:31 PM   #9
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Hey Jens,

Have to agree on this being a great topic.

Reguarding the dagger held high in your pictured example I have a difference of opinion as it seems to me to have the side guards of a katar and also held at the ninety degree angle as the katar is. Also, for this dagger/sword to be held at this angle if it had an inline handle (not katar type), the wrist would need to be at least a 45 degree angle and that is not represented in the stone relief.

Also see the non straight angle of the daggers blade you refer to. We know katars most often have straight blades, often with armor piercing tips, but there also also ones with curved blades and multiple blades. What this may be is an example to a katar with a blade more akin to Vijjayangara and Nayaka periods such as usually seen on a chianum or even khanjarli. With the Indian endless variety of weapons this is a possibility.

There is a reference of a Raja fighting with two pata's (florentine) untill one of his arms was severed, believe he was on horseback. Is also a women a Hindu woman known to fight with two swords.

Also notice the heavy, thick looking blade in the stone relief. If it is indeed a thick bladed dagger representation tht would be unusual. Do you think it could represent a armor piercing tipped katar also?

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Old 28th April 2009, 01:14 PM   #10
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Hey Rand,
I don't really know what to say about the blade. However have a look at the stone piece from Robert's book, and notice how many fine details there are. I think, if the artist had wanted to show a blade with an armour piercing tip, he would have done so. So either he was showing the sword like it was, or if he tried to imagine an ancient sword, how he thought it may have looked.
The missing scabbard is strange. Was the warrior supposed to hold the sword in his hand all the time? If you try to measure the sword and the man, you will see, that the sword is about one third of the man's hight. Lets say the man was 180 cm, the sword would then have been about 60 cm, and a 60 cm long sword, with a blade this thick would be very heavy. If you imagine such a heavy sword with a normal sword hilt, it would be very tiring to use such a sword, but I think it would be less so, if the hilt was like on the relief.
Did you get my PM sent on April 26?
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Old 29th April 2009, 02:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
Hey Rand,
I don't really know what to say about the blade. However have a look at the stone piece from Robert's book, and notice how many fine details there are. I think, if the artist had wanted to show a blade with an armour piercing tip, he would have done so. So either he was showing the sword like it was, or if he tried to imagine an ancient sword, how he thought it may have looked.
The missing scabbard is strange. Was the warrior supposed to hold the sword in his hand all the time? If you try to measure the sword and the man, you will see, that the sword is about one third of the man's hight. Lets say the man was 180 cm, the sword would then have been about 60 cm, and a 60 cm long sword, with a blade this thick would be very heavy. If you imagine such a heavy sword with a normal sword hilt, it would be very tiring to use such a sword, but I think it would be less so, if the hilt was like on the relief.
Did you get my PM sent on April 26?


Jens,

Did not receive a PM on the 26th, but did receive an email. Thought you have an interesting thought in not only considering what type of flower, but also what the color was.

Agree with you about the skill of the artisens. Sometimes we are limited by the image file size as to how clear an image is when enlarged. This was sort of the case with the photo od the stone carving holding the weapon.

Dry Roads,
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Old 29th April 2009, 03:47 PM   #12
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Rand,

Sorry, I meant an email and not a PM, glad you found it interesting.

Have a look at the picture attached, it is from: Holstein, P.: Contribution a L’etude des Armes Orientales vol. I-II. Les Éditions Albert Lévy, Paris 1931.

In vol. I, plate XIII he shows this dagger. It is drawn after a figure from the Gauri temple in Bhuwanesvara/Bhubanshwar in Orissa. The temples, in the area, were build from the 5th to the 13th century. I think the hilt looks very much like the hilt on the sculpture I show above, and both have heavy to very heavy blades, although the one from Holstein is quite a bit shorter.

Then have a look at Elgood’s Hindu Arms and Ritual, page 149 fig. 15.9, here he shows a gauntlet katar from the 16th century, but the blade is short and very solid, like the one I show above, but the hilt Elgood shows is fitted into the blade like they did in south India. And the blade is also decorated. If they in the 16t century had katars refined like the ones Elgood shows in his book, it suggests to me, that the katar as a type is far older than the 16th century.

The interesting questions are, how old is the katar as a type, and why did they in the 16th century make such solid katars, when we see from other of Elgood’s pictures that they also know the very elegant types with many fullers on the blade?

Jens
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