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Old 5th September 2016, 06:48 PM   #1
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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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Old 5th September 2016, 07:47 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, 09:31 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, 01:47 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, 02:33 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, 05:41 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, 07:58 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, 08:40 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, 08:55 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, 08:58 PM   #10
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Like yours:
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Old 6th September 2016, 09:07 PM   #11
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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, 10:29 PM   #12
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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, 11:04 PM   #13
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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, 11:37 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, 02:13 AM   #15
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From Egerton. "Arms of the Aboriginal and Dravidian races of Southern India".
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Old 7th September 2016, 09:18 AM   #16
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Some further examples
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Old 7th September 2016, 09:51 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
From Egerton.

Stoun, Egerton, Irvine and more are NOT the different sources or the cross references. They used the same data ((
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Old 7th September 2016, 11:05 AM   #18
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What was the effect of Portuguese Dutch and English ships ...Battle Fleets off the coast of India and shortly after at Sri Lankla with regard to spear transfer of design and technology however basic in these weapons? I can follow to a certain extent some transfer of the European Partisan style spear but to be clear here is the backdrop of essential events that place questions on the time scale of possibility...plus the odd very unusual fact thrown in here for good measure which raise not a few questions....Bare in mind that in any vanguard move the Portuguese were sure to have spears in their order of Battle. Usually Partisan style. The Dutch had the same weapon and used it equally in their style of fighting with spear m,en to the fore...

1. The Portuguese. Vasco da Gama was on the Indian Coast(Malibar...Calicut) and went ashore 20 May 1498 and the first person he met was a Tunisian Moslem gentleman...!!!

2. Later they discovered Sri Lankla and went into battle mode from 1505 to 1658.
3. The Dutch took over from about 1640.
4. The British were relatively latecomers but entered the situation in 1796.

Are we saying that the Portuguese who had a very high military profile impacted no spear technology in almost a century and a half of battling the Sri Lankans? and that it was the Dutch who introduced the Partesan spear weapon to the Sri Lankans after 1640...?

What do we know about the meeting with the Tunisian and how does that alter the weapon potential of copied form from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean and Vice Versa?

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Old 7th September 2016, 11:21 AM   #19
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As a vignette on proceedings here is a sketch of a battle between Dutch and Portuguese indicating heavy use of spears at least certainly by the Dutch but we know the defenders would have had equally a lot of spear men in their order of Battle...The Galle Fort being stormed by the Dutch. The defenders were Portuguese..plus Mercenaries. 1640AD
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Old 7th September 2016, 01:20 PM   #20
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Ribeiro in his Fatalida De Histories written in 1685, describing the Sinhala Army states;-

” Amoung their fighting men are also men of the low cast. The Carias are fisherman, the Mainatos, washers and the Pachas, Sandal makers. Also these have brave Generals and Captains, but are serving in one army…….. Modelias, Appuames, Adigars and other great folk amoung them wear a shirt and doublet. The fighting men alone use arms;they carry swords of two and half spans which they call calachurros; the soldiers are lascarins, some are pikemen and their weapons eighteen spans long; others are espinggerdeiros and are skilled in firing; others use bows which they can shoot accurately. Some carry muskets with a barrel of eight palms and weighing forty pounds from which they shoot a ball of four ounces”.

Dutch influence. Since the Dutch came to the rescue and fought on the side of the Sri Lankans it is of interest that this could have heralded the use of the Partisan weapon and this could be where it transferred to Sri Lankan use through tactics transfer and copying of this weapon/issue by the Dutch to their Sri Lankan allies...and became accepted as part of their joint fighting style. Below joining of the Dutch and Srl Lankan forces....
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Old 7th September 2016, 01:47 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mercenary
Stoun, Egerton, Irvine and more are NOT the different sources or the cross references. They used the same data ((
And what data did they use??
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Old 7th September 2016, 02:17 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi

Dutch influence. Since the Dutch came to the rescue and fought on the side of the Sri Lankans it is of interest that this could have heralded the use of the Partisan weapon and this could be where it transferred to Sri Lankan use through tactics transfer and copying of this weapon/issue by the Dutch to their Sri Lankan allies...and became accepted as part of their joint fighting style. Below joining of the Dutch and Srl Lankan forces....


Are you suggesting that the Sri Lankan spear takes its from from the European Partisan??
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Old 7th September 2016, 02:45 PM   #23
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Old 7th September 2016, 02:48 PM   #24
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Yes. The Partisan was used by the Europeans probably during the Portuguese / Dutch period in Sri Lanka but introduced as a Sri Lankan weapon copied in / provided actually by the Dutch in the period they were fighting along side the Sri Lankans against the Portuguese about 1680...I believe the Sri Lankan weapon is called almost the same as the Partisan.

It is called a Patisthanaya .

There is some added depth seen at http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=8187

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Old 8th September 2016, 04:11 PM   #25
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To boot~ See https://sirimunasiha.wordpress.com/...uese-dutch-and/ where it states;

Quote"The Portuguese, Dutch and British armies were the most modern armies of Europe at the time. To fight the invader a modern army was raised, armed and equipped in the European manner''.Unquote.

Since the Vanguard of the Portuguese and Dutch were Spear Men it stands to reason the Sri Lankan Army would be armed with similar weaponry.

Moreover it also is reasonable to posit that when the two armies joined ranks against the Portuguese that similar tactics would be employed and the order of Battle would be very similar in weaponry.

In addition I fuse together my posts above using #16 #18 #19 #20 and this post as the basis in viewing what I think was a fusing together of weapons types and techniques at the time in an order-of-battle using Partisan form as the Vanguard spear in Dutch and Sri Lankan units. Of course I wasn't there so nothing is written in stone here... and all comments are welcomed

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Old 13th September 2016, 04:07 PM   #26
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See the Sri Lankan spear below. Spear base flanked by Deities..as in #22 above
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Old 13th September 2016, 05:09 PM   #27
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It is interesting that the ancient Sri Lankan tribe called The Vel were quite famous for their use of arrows and spears ; Vel: the Tamil word for a spear, a lance, a javelin or, arrow. The arrow may be taken as the proto-type of the Vel. It denotes a long handled sharp metal pointed weapon of hunting or war of ancient time. The Vel of Murukan are of two basic types. One is Vel, the leaf shaped lance and the other is Sakti a double or triple headed lance commonly associated with the Goddess. The Vel became inter changeable with the Sakti in the 15th century.

SEE http://kataragama.org/research/krishnapillai.htm
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Old 13th September 2016, 06:11 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
See the Sri Lankan spear below. Spear base flanked by Deities..as in #22 above

Hello Ibrahiim, my far away friend in the desert ,shall whe call them Makaras? greetings from the mountains Iskender
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Old 13th September 2016, 06:35 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iskender
Hello Ibrahiim, my far away friend in the desert ,shall whe call them Makaras? greetings from the mountains Iskender

They sure look like makara to me. Makara, of course, while vahana, or vehicles for certain deities and guardians of gateways and thresholds are not themselves considered to be deities.
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Old 14th September 2016, 03:30 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
They sure look like makara to me. Makara, of course, while vahana, or vehicles for certain deities and guardians of gateways and thresholds are not themselves considered to be deities.


There are something like 20 or 30 different forms each with a different animal or part of ...Horse with beaks part Elephant part Peacock. See https://books.google.com.om/books?i...epage&q&f=false for a rundown on the varieties. Whatever the Makara are we can be certain that in the decorative spear shown the weapons are Sri Lankan...beyond that I am unwilling to go except that the incredible co incidence of Sri Lankan Spear and European Partisan spear are almost ridiculously connected...and appear to have virtually the same name!

It is true that the Makara are vehicles for a number of Gods and constructions in Hindu forms. Deity may not be pinpoint accurate precisely, however, I cannot think of a single word other than deity which sums up the word. Mythical creature is perhaps close.
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