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Old 19th December 2010, 02:14 PM   #1
CharlesS
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Default Perhaps This is a Variation of a Ceylonese Patisthanaya Pole Arm

This is a very unique pole arm and certainly from 19th cent. Ceylon, but I am not sure if it would quite qualify as what Stone describes as a Patisthanaya(pg. 487 then Figure 623) The basic structure is the same, but this one is far more elongated with a serpentine blade. The lacquered haft is just as Stone describes. The pole arm is almost exactly 8 feet long.

Note the "wave-like" decoration to the base of the blade. A similar motif can be found on the blades of better Ceylonese pia kaettas.
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Old 20th December 2010, 02:51 PM   #2
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Charles, I think you stumped the panel on this one! Personally, I have not ever seen one so it was nice to see what a good example would look like. A lovely example!
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Old 20th December 2010, 11:43 PM   #3
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CONGRADULATIONS A VERY NICE ONE .
THE ONES I HAVE SEEN HAD THE SHORT DOUBLE EDGED BLADE. THEY HAD SOME IN THE MUSEUM IN THE MALDIVES AND SOME INFORMATION ON SPEAR FIGHTING WITH THEM. ONE OF THE RULERS THERE LIKED SPEAR FIGHTING AND TOURNAMENTS WERE OFTEN HELD DURING HIS REIGN. CEYLON AND THE MALDIVES ARE THE ONLY TWO PLACES I HAVE HEARD OF THAT USE THIS TYPE OF SPEAR AND HAVE THE FANCY PAINTED SHAFTS. PERHAPS CELON AND THE MALDIVES COMPETED IN TOURNAMENTS IN THE PAST.
PERHAPS THE ONES WITH THE SHORTER BLADES WERE USED AS SORT OF LIKE A JOUST AND WERE NOT INTENDED TO KILL WITH A THRUST. THOSE MENT FOR GUARD DUTY OR BATTLE WOULD NO DOUBT HAVE HAD A LONGER SHARP BLADE PERHAPS LIKE YOUR EXAMPLE.
MY EXAMPLE IS 80.5 INCHES LONG WITH A STRAIGHT 5 INCH BLADE. THE BLADE DOES HAVE A DOUBLE EDGE BUT IS NOT REAL SHARP AND DOES SHOW NICKS IN IT FROM USE.
THIS IS THE ONLY PICTURE OF A SPEAR SAID TO HAVE BEEN FROM CEYLON. NOT BEING ABLE TO SEE THE SHAFT MAKES IT DIFFICULT TO CONFIRM.IT LOOKS MORE LIKE ONE FOR CEREMONY AROUND THE PALACE THAN FOR A GUARD OR SPEAR FIGHTING IT HAS A TANG.
MY EXAMPLE IS DIFFERENT FROM CHARLES OR THIS ONE BUT IT HAS A SOCKET AND THE TWO STEEL SIDE STRAPS LIKE CHARLES EXAMPLE. UNFORTUNATELY NO PICTURES AVAILABLE.
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Last edited by VANDOO : 21st December 2010 at 12:13 AM.
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Old 22nd December 2010, 01:46 PM   #4
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Thanks Rick and Vandoo,

I had seen some other Ceylonese styles, similar to what Vandoo described and had pics of. This one just really struck me as odd, unique and in amazing condition. About 85% of the lacquer is intact.
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Old 22nd December 2010, 02:27 PM   #5
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I see where billiard cues get their design inspiration!
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Old 26th December 2010, 04:07 AM   #6
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Hi Charles,

Thank you for posting this. It is indeed from Ceylon and I would classify it as a Patisthanaya in spite of the wavy blade. This blade form is rare but can be found. Deraniyagala in his Sinhala Weapons and Armor states as follows:

Some spear-heads possess wavy edges and without impairing their penetrative power, these produce large and more jagged wounds than if they were straight edged.

He illustrates three such spear heads in Plate III.

Why have you said 19th century? I believe it is earlier. If the almost complete lac work is your guide on dating, it could easily have been re-hafted as was done regularly.

I am posting a similar example to yours. As you can see, the wavy blade, the scroll design at the base of the blade are very similar. In my example interestingly there are traces of copper gilding as indicated. The brass overlay is a later work. I assume that at one time most of the spear other than the blade would have been gilded which points to an earlier period. Also note the cock birds in the detailed image. The spontoon type transverse bars are obviously burrowed from European sources. One bar is missing as indicated.

In your example too, in the image Ceylon3 I can see traces of either gilding or overlay work by the edge of the scroll design. Can you see any further evidence of gilding?
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Old 26th December 2010, 04:08 AM   #7
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Hi Charles,

Thank you for posting this. It is indeed from Ceylon and I would classify it as a Patisthanaya in spite of the wavy blade. This blade form is rare but can be found. Deraniyagala in his Sinhala Weapons and Armor states as follows:

Some spear-heads possess wavy edges and without impairing their penetrative power, these produce large and more jagged wounds than if they were straight edged.

He illustrates three such spear heads in Plate III.

Why have you said 19th century? I believe it is earlier. If the almost complete lac work is your guide on dating, it could easily have been re-hafted as was done regularly.

I am posting a similar example to yours. As you can see, the wavy blade, the scroll design at the base of the blade is very similar. In my example interestingly there are traces of copper gilding as indicated. The brass overlay is a later work. I assume that at one time most of the spear other than the blade would have been gilded which points to an earlier period. Also note the cock birds in the detailed image. The spontoon type transverse bars are obviously burrowed from European sources. One bar is missing as indicated.

In your example too, in the image Ceylon3 I can see traces of either gilding or overlay work by the edge of the scroll design. Can you see any further evidence of gilding?

Regards.
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Last edited by Anandalal N. : 26th December 2010 at 04:31 AM.
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