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Old 28th July 2016, 07:57 PM   #1
Kubur
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Default Pata sword with European blade

Hi,
I need your help.
I have this sword since few years now. This Indian pata has a nice blade.
I suspect this blade to be old and European. But i have no idea from where and when. I would appreciate any help.
Thanks
Kubur
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Old 28th July 2016, 11:45 PM   #2
Battara
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Well.........just a thought: both Portuguese and British were there in the 17th century.

2 places to start.

Another thought would be to post also in the European section since you are asking about the European blade.
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Old 29th July 2016, 09:42 AM   #3
Kubur
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Default European blade

Hi,
I need your help.
I have this sword since few years now. This Indian pata has a nice blade.
I suspect this blade to be old and European. But i have no idea from where and when. I would appreciate any help.
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=21717
Thanks
Kubur
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Old 29th July 2016, 11:53 AM   #4
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Don't pay much notice to what i say but, the decoration in the ricasso doesn't look European to me... at least not Portuguese .
Is it flexible ?
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Old 29th July 2016, 07:23 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Is it flexible ?


Hello Fernando,

May I know why are you asking?

I also have a similar Patah but with a different blade that is quite flexible (much more flexible than any of the other blades I have).

While I am by no means very knowledgeable on this subject, I agree with you that the decorations on the ricasso don't look European.
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Old 29th July 2016, 07:31 PM   #6
Jim McDougall
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S.

I am inclined to think this blade is 'European' as well. I would note here that while Portuguese colonization was predominant early, there are not that many surviving blades from those early sources in India (that I know of). Naturally there are some examples but the more profound entries seem to have been primarily German or Styrian made blades, which became well known by 17th century.

The earliest Portuguese blades were likely some of the rapier blades which were fitted to khandas with basket hilts (firangi) , in fact it is said that the word firangi actually specified Portuguese. Actually it was far more generic, as in variation it occurs in other languages meaning 'foreign or Frankish(?)'.

The British blades were mostly scorned by Indian merchants, and they were not prevalent anyway, as the relatively limited numbers of British makers were not inclined to export. Most blades were actually German, filtered through English commerce.

Here I would note this blade, which by fullering and general blade character does (to me) seem European, and the squared cartouche triptych with four leaf devices reminds me of such patterns seen in North African hilt motif but occasionally on blades. It seems they are seen on Saharan (Tuareg) hilts as well as possibly on some kaskara.
While it is tempting to see these squares as 'Maltese crosses', they also are seen as four leaf patterns. Most such devices seem to represent the four cardinal directions in native symbolism.

There was an apparent degree of cross pollination of African blades to India, and less often some European blades from India into Africa. The Red Sea trade machine accounts for this in my opinion.
I have seen tulwar hilts with blades having profuse thuluth obviously from Mahdist period kaskara .....and I had a pata which had a kaskara blade with the cosmologic motif and central triple fullers.

Conversely, I have seen kaskara with single edged Italian blades with old markings suggesting probably from firangi sources in India.

Just my thoughts.
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Old 29th July 2016, 07:36 PM   #7
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Just saw Marius' post. In my view this is likely a kaskara blade as well, the center fuller resembles many European blades (mostly schiavona types) which found their way into North African entrepots.
It is hard to tell as the upper part of the fuller is obscured by the blade bolster. Most 'firangi' in khanda or pata it seems did not have these single central fullers.
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Old 29th July 2016, 08:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Just saw Marius' post. In my view this is likely a kaskara blade as well, the center fuller resembles many European blades (mostly schiavona types) which found their way into North African entrepots.
It is hard to tell as the upper part of the fuller is obscured by the blade bolster. Most 'firangi' in khanda or pata it seems did not have these single central fullers.


Very interesting thoughts. Thank you!

However, I doubt that my blade is European because it is more flexible/elastic than any European blades I have seen. It also appears to be somehow thinner. Yet it keeps shape extremely well like it is a big leaf spring.

I wonder how flexible is Kubur's blade?!

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Old 29th July 2016, 09:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
Very interesting thoughts. Thank you!

However, I doubt that my blade is European because it is more flexible/elastic than any European blades I have seen. It also appears to be somehow thinner. Yet it keeps shape extremely well like it is a big leaf spring.

I wonder how flexible is Kubur's blade?!




Kubur's blade is not very flexible (like Kubur in general)
:-)
Like Jim I can see some Maltese crosses... but guys you have to give me something...I can't believe that no one on this fabulous forum can trace the origin of this blade...
Thanks to all past and future
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Old 29th July 2016, 11:00 PM   #10
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Sorry for not being able to say something more constructive, but those are definitely not Maltese crosses (not even very abstract ones).

I wonder why cannot the blade be plainly Indian?

Maybe we should duplicate this discussion on the Ethnographic Weapons forum.

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Old 30th July 2016, 02:17 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by estcrh
If you have not already read this essay you should, it is from the book titled Sultans of the South: Arts of India's Deccan Courts, 1323-1687 By Navina Najat Haidar, Marika Sardar, 2011.



"Swords in the Deccan in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: their manufacture and the influence of European imports" by Robert Elgood.

https://books.google.com/books?id=i...epage&q&f=false
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Old 30th July 2016, 02:53 AM   #12
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Kubur, I am sorry I cannot adequately word my posts better. I thought I had described these devices occurring in African swords both in the Sahara and Sudan. These devices in repeated square cartouches are not a motif I have ever seen on European blades, but do seem like they are from Africa, again emphasizing the four leaf flower.

I described that African blades are known to appear in instances in Indian swords, and these are likely to have transmitted via Red Sea trade.

As far as I have ever seen, these blades with central fuller were indeed a form sometimes made in Sudanese regions in the latter 19th century, and these were copied from Solingen blades of this form by Clauberg and Peres for two examples.

They did not made in India, which is why khanda and pata often are more inclined to have imported (including African) blades .
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Old 30th July 2016, 09:30 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
Another thought would be to post also in the European section since you are asking about the European blade.


That's where it was originally posted.
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Old 30th July 2016, 10:42 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Kubur, I am sorry I cannot adequately word my posts better. I thought I had described these devices occurring in African swords both in the Sahara and Sudan.
They did not made in India, which is why khanda and pata often are more inclined to have imported (including African) blades .


Oh I see, thank you Jim. I was thinking that you was talking only about the one posted by Marius. And i have to admit that this blade has some strong similarities with kaskara. Maybe my photos are not good enough, but my blade has nothing to do with local African blades. Plus I never saw any good/ outstanding localy manufactured African blades... Do you really think that Indians were desperate enough to import bad African blades, I have some serious doubt... I take on board the possibility that europeans blades came to India via Africa, by Red sea trade or most likely by Indian ocean trade. I still hope to have other comments...
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Old 30th July 2016, 12:40 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
Oh I see, thank you Jim. I was thinking that you was talking only about the one posted by Marius. And i have to admit that this blade has some strong similarities with kaskara. Maybe my photos are not good enough, but my blade has nothing to do with local African blades. Plus I never saw any good/ outstanding localy manufactured African blades... Do you really think that Indians were desperate enough to import bad African blades, I have some serious doubt... I take on board the possibility that europeans blades came to India via Africa, by Red sea trade or most likely by Indian ocean trade. I still hope to have other comments...


I agree with you here. I don't think your blade is of African origin because it is too big and too well made... BUT...
... it is quite possible that the engravings were of African origin, later added (although I am not so sure they cannot be of Indian origin).

Also with regards to my blade, it definitely is not plausible that a blade with such excellent mechanical properties (equivalent to modern highly alloyed spring steel) could have been forged anywhere in Africa.
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Old 30th July 2016, 01:41 PM   #16
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Search for "Swords in the Deccan in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries" on Google, go to the MET's homepage, and you can download the book (I think) as a PDF file.

Maybe the blade is European, but I am not convinced, as I think there are pointers towards India. It could also be European and decorated later in India - it is not easy to tell from a picture.
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Old 30th July 2016, 06:48 PM   #17
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EXACTLY!!!
I must point out that I did not mean to suggest that Indians were in any way desperate for blades. They were of course fully capable and skilled in producing excellent blades. The reason blades were brought in was due to the colonial circumstances, trade and innovative merchants. Blades which were imported from Europe sometimes including a few British ones here and there, were then used by local artisans in India in remounting local hilts.

These devices of the four petal flower type I have been desperately trying to convey are on African hilts and it seems blades, but I have to find the examples. Please disregard my suggestions on the cross pollination of European/African blades into India as that suggestion does not seem to meet the criteria here. Despite the fact that known African blades are known to have been found on Indian hilts, one cannot discount the possibility that creative arms dealers might have fashioned these. I have had the pata with kaskara type blade for over 40 years. Also in that time period as per Mr. Oakeshott, many kaskara blades were taken from their hilts in England (brought in from Sudanese campaigns) and put in sometimes authentic medieval guards.
I cannot imagine how some of these blades in England might have found their way to India!
Indeed hopefully someone with more knowledge will respond.

I would point out however that the bladesmiths in Africa should not be underestimated. In the latter 19th century and well into 20th, Sudanese artisans used steel from lorry springs and other stock in industrial lots in making blades and other arms components.
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Old 30th July 2016, 07:22 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
Hello Fernando,

May I know why are you asking?

I also have a similar Patah but with a different blade that is quite flexible (much more flexible than any of the other blades I have).

While I am by no means very knowledgeable on this subject, I agree with you that the decorations on the ricasso don't look European.



Just to be more specific Marius.
This pata, as I noted, has a central fuller which is very much like European blades, most notably schiavona, which often were Solingen made. These central fuller blades were sometimes known to be of African production, however most often imported into Sudan in 1870s-80s (Suakin was one Red Sea entrepot). Peres and Clauberg were noted makers that come to mind. If this blade is not so marked it might be a blank from Solingen.

It is not Indian made .....question, why would the langet/bolster be riveted into the fuller? I am under the impression this might compromise the blade if drilled through. Perhaps that is why these central fuller blades might not be chosen by Indian armourer? or ?

Just asking for your valued opinion, and trying to offer helpful suggestions pending more useful responses.
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Old 30th July 2016, 11:25 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
Search for "Swords in the Deccan in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries" on Google, go to the MET's homepage, and you can download the book (I think) as a PDF file.


Thank you all for the reference! and the link!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
It could also be European and decorated later in India - it is not easy to tell from a picture.


Why not, but the decoration is going right under the rivets and the pata.
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Old 30th July 2016, 11:33 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall

These devices of the four petal flower type I have been desperately trying to convey are on African hilts and it seems blades, but I have to find the examples.


I see what you mean, like the motives on the Tabouka cross hilts / guards for example...
Please, see also the recent book of Kinman page 90, there is a blade with the same crosses/flowers and crenellations...Solingen end of 16th c.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall

Also in that time period as per Mr. Oakeshott, many kaskara blades were taken from their hilts in England (brought in from Sudanese campaigns) and put in sometimes authentic medieval guards.
I cannot imagine how some of these blades in England might have found their way to India!


Ah this is something logic, the British have all what they need to do fakes with original pieces from their colonial empires... and it will explain perfectly the pata guards with kaskara blades...
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Old 31st July 2016, 10:47 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Just to be more specific Marius.
This pata, as I noted, has a central fuller which is very much like European blades, most notably schiavona, which often were Solingen made. These central fuller blades were sometimes known to be of African production, however most often imported into Sudan in 1870s-80s (Suakin was one Red Sea entrepot). Peres and Clauberg were noted makers that come to mind. If this blade is not so marked it might be a blank from Solingen.

It is not Indian made .....question, why would the langet/bolster be riveted into the fuller? I am under the impression this might compromise the blade if drilled through. Perhaps that is why these central fuller blades might not be chosen by Indian armourer? or ?

Just asking for your valued opinion, and trying to offer helpful suggestions pending more useful responses.


Thank you Jim for your thoughts!

My blade can definitely be of European origin as European bladesmiths definitely had the knowledge to produce blades with such properties.

But then, if the blade was made in Europe, for what type of sword was it made because it would be too thin and elastic for any type of European sword I know?! It would only be suitable for an Indian Pata, that employs a very particular fighting style where a very elastic blade is required.


PS: Here is a link to an older thread about a Pata with a blade very similar to mine, and apparently equally elastic:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?p=92078

Last edited by mariusgmioc : 31st July 2016 at 11:27 AM.
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Old 31st July 2016, 12:15 PM   #22
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Red face Silly questions

We can see that the decoration of Kubur's blade goes well into the bolsters. Could it be that the blade was dismounted to have the decoration made or was already decorated before mounting ?
The pronounced central fuller was alredy there from the beginning ... no doubt. Could it be that the side grooves were only made together with the ricasso decoration ?
Is it my impression or the Indian blades in patas are the ones that are flexible and not the European ones; starting by considering that European blades were made for 'normal' swords and not necessarily a product expressly developed for patas.
We hear in the grape vines that blades in patas are largely of European origin; couldn't this be a matter of fashion or acquired culture rather than a matter of necessity ... or quality ?
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Old 31st July 2016, 12:25 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Is it my impression or the Indian blades in patas are the ones that are flexible and not the European ones; starting by considering that European blades were made for 'normal' swords and not necessarily a product expressly developed for patas.
We hear in the grape vines that blades in patas are largely of European origin; couldn't this be a matter of fashion or acquired culture rather than a matter of necessity ... or quality ?


Exactly my point!

In the photo below, you can see how thin the blade is, which is very unlike any European blade I know.

The same goes for the Pata in the link I provided above. Thin, very elastic blade, most likely unsuitable for any other sword but specifically suited for the fighting style with the Pata, where ample circular blows are delivered, and where you don't want the blade to be stopped abruptly even when hitting a shield, as such an abrupt stop may throw you off-guard and even break your arm.
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Old 31st July 2016, 12:56 PM   #24
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My speculation is that many Pata were indeed fitted with European blades, but even more so were fitted with locally made Indian blades that sometimes imitated the European design.

The fighting style with the Pata involves ample circular movements (of the whole arm and body) that require particularly flexible blades. A Pata swordsman will practically spin around waving the blade in circular moves and create a wide perimeter around him where any opponent would be at risk of being struck. If the blade is not flexible enough, a shield or even a stick can not only block the blow, but can easily throw the wielder off-balance or even break his arm. Therefore, the blade must necessarily be very elastic so it can bounce off any rigid parrying device and dissipate the shock of the parry.

While some European blades may be elastic just about enough to provide some functionality to the Pata, most of them were way too rigid to be of practical use in a Pata mount.

And I particularly doubt that any European swordsmith would bother to produce dedicated Pata blades for export to India, since even in India Pata wasn't very widely used, and since India itself didn't see such a dramatic shortage of native capable swordsmiths.

I am attaching some photos of a Pata I have, where one can easily see how thin the blade is (last photo).

Also at the link below, you can see a Pata with a very similar, very thin and elastic blade.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?p=92078
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Last edited by mariusgmioc : 31st July 2016 at 06:20 PM.
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Old 31st July 2016, 01:50 PM   #25
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I have two pata's and both have very flexible blades. The chiselled one is from south India 16th to arely 17th century, and the other one has a gauntlet of wootz and is from north India 17th to early 18th century.
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Old 31st July 2016, 02:40 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
I have two pata's and both have very flexible blades. The chiselled one is from south India 16th to arely 17th century, and the other one has a gauntlet of wootz and is from north India 17th to early 18th century.


Hi Jens,

To me, if they are very flexible, it means they were specifically designed for Patas, and are of Indian workmanship.

Marius

PS: Yet, the second one has what might be taken for European engravings... that go well under the armatures... like with Kubur's blade! But for what European (or otherwise) type of sword other than a Pata would such a flexible blade be suitable for?!

PPS: Magnificent and very interesting examples.
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Old 31st July 2016, 03:23 PM   #27
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Beautiful examples.
Are you familiar with that mark, Jens ?

.
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Old 31st July 2016, 03:26 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Beautiful examples.
Are you familiar with that mark, Jens ?

.
In which way do you mean?
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Old 31st July 2016, 03:37 PM   #29
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Posts are being pouring in this same subject in both Ethno and European fora, which somehow disperses discussion efforts.
So if you don't mind, Kubur, we will merge both threads into the Ethno section as, despite the origin of your pata blade is in doubt, the subject is Indian swords.
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Old 31st July 2016, 03:40 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
In which way do you mean?

I mean if you this as being a symbol, a mark or part of an inscription, as to whether it helps to trace the origin of this blade.
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