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Old 17th January 2009, 10:23 PM   #1
fernando
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Default A Portuguese Partisan (spontoon)

This is a polearm called partisan; some say the ascendant of the spontoon.
It is in principle Portuguese (provenant from Oporto); the seller dates it from the XVII century.
It would have been an action weapon.
The staff is possibly the original one, adorned with several brass fancy nails, possibly a later stage embelishment, certainly to have a second life serving ceremonial purposes
Blade length is 46 cms ... 53 cms including socket.
The side straps measure 34 cms.
The total length of this piece is 2,70 mts.
Anybody care for coments ?
Thanks
Fernando

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Last edited by Jim McDougall : 19th January 2009 at 08:29 PM.
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Old 19th January 2009, 09:53 PM   #2
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A very handsome example Fernando! and though I dont know much on polearms, I wanted to add some thoughts after reviewing some notes on these. The terminology on polearms is interesting, and perhaps it would be interesting to discover more on these terms. Apparantly the 'partisan' is also more familiarly known as a 'spontoon'. " always think the 'oon' suffix is curious, as in the swords we have studied such as 'walloon' , the 'spadroon' come to mind.

It seems most polearms were intended for combat against horsed enemy, and there were many variations in the shapes and features of the heads on these, with distinct purposes associated with axe blades, spear points, hooks, winged type protrusions and so on.

The earlier forms of partisan, I understand had axe type heads on either side of the blade, which evolved into two side blade protrusions. On these, as on some other polearm heads, these were hilt-like in function defensively.

In this example, as you have noted, these side blades have become rather vestigial, and the weapon, as was the case with partisans in general by the 17th century, had become more ceremonial. I believe, if not mistaken, that the spontoon (partisan) became a sort of rank insignia that was often carried by sergeants or similar equivilants in rank and file.

Interesting to have provenance with this example, and perhaps looking into the military history there, more information might be present.

I know these turned up in Spanish colonial sphere, and I think were even used as noted during the American Revolutionary War. Need to check more in Neumann's reference! Looking forward to more comments.

All the best,
Jim
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Old 20th January 2009, 12:53 PM   #3
Anandalal N.
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Default Dear Fernando,

A grand example. Seems well balanced from your demonstration.

From Sri Lanka (Ceylon) comes a distinctive spear based on the partisan called 'patisthana' or 'patisthanaya' which follows the same basic design and is usually highly decorated.

Could someone tell me how to attach images so I can put up an early patisthana for comparative purposes?
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Old 20th January 2009, 02:26 PM   #4
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Hi Anan,
Thanks for your coments.
Let's see if i can explain how the picture insertion works:
As you open 'post reply', there is an option down below called 'manage attachements'. Once you click it, there are six 'browse' boxes. You enter the first one and your computer options appear. Search for the file (picture) you want to attach to your posting, and click in the 'open' tab. That will bring you back the 'browse' window, where you click on the 'upload' tab. You can do this operation six times in the same session. Once it is uploaded, you can 'close the window' and 'submit' the posting, your picture/s being automaticaly inserted.
I hope i made it clear; if any problems arise, just email me the pictures and i will ge glad to insert them myself.
Best
Fernando
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Old 20th January 2009, 03:10 PM   #5
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Hi Jim,
Thanks a lot for your input.
It appears as, despite the use of the term spontoon is a coloquial attribution, indeed the partisan is an earlier weapon ... derived from the lance, we can admit. From what i have been reading, the partisan ended up as a rank insignia weapon, while the spontoon was already generated for such purposes ... or something of the kind .
I guess the term 'partisan' (partasana in portuguese) derives from the italian 'partigiana', a weapon aledgedly used by the Partisan militians (Partigiani).
Isn't sometimes the sufix 'oon' the same as 'ão' in portuguese, or 'on' in french and spanish, meaning large, or dimensional... right ?
Fernando
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Old 20th January 2009, 05:35 PM   #6
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A very fine piece, Fernando - well done.

Although this kind of weapons, having become, as Jim put it, rank insignia by the time that your partizan/spontoon was made, is not really within my expertise I like it very much. Very good photos as well, one showing clearly the layers of wrought iron coming off - a proof of authenticity anyway.

Michael
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Old 20th January 2009, 08:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anandalal N.
A grand example. Seems well balanced from your demonstration.

From Sri Lanka (Ceylon) comes a distinctive spear based on the partisan called 'patisthana' or 'patisthanaya' which follows the same basic design and is usually highly decorated.

Could someone tell me how to attach images so I can put up an early patisthana for comparative purposes?



Hi Anandalal,
some thing like this ?...

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ht=ceylon+spear

Regards David
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Old 20th January 2009, 11:16 PM   #8
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Hi Michael, thank you for your coments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
A very fine piece, Fernando - well done.
Although this kind of weapons, having become, as Jim put it, rank insignia by the time that your partizan/spontoon was made, is not really within my expertise I like it very much. Very good photos as well, one showing clearly the layers of wrought iron coming off - a proof of authenticity anyway.
Michael


Within my humble perspective, while at the period sugested by its haft, this piece served an insignia purpose, i do beleive the blade shows a lethal aspect, suiting a task more 'responsible' than just ceremonial.
Fernando
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Old 21st January 2009, 11:44 AM   #9
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Thanks Fernando. I have still not succeeded so am sending you the image by e-mail.

David, you see the differences from the example you indicated. The Patisthana is very close to the Patisan with the wings pointing forward probably to stop the enemy charging in, in a maniacal rage.
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Old 21st January 2009, 03:23 PM   #10
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Hi, Fernando,

It is just as you wrote: the form of the blade does serve a lethal purpose. I even see it in the same line of formal development as the Late Gothic langue de boeuf and the early Renaissance short cinquedea.

What makes me wonder if that lethal purpose could still be reached with your partizan/spontoon is the relative thinness of the blade and of its central reinforcement ridge. These two were, in my opinion, somewhat more accentuated in former blades meant for actual fighting.

Again, this is not the field that I can plow with sufficient authority though.

Michael

Last edited by Matchlock : 22nd January 2009 at 01:42 PM.
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Old 21st January 2009, 05:33 PM   #11
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I think I just figured out how to do this. So here goes.
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Old 21st January 2009, 11:35 PM   #12
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Hi Michael

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
... What makes me wonder if that lethal purpose could still be reached with your partizan/spontoon is the relative thinness of the blade and of its central reinforcement ridge. These two were, in my opinion, somewhat more accentuated in former blades meant for actual fighting ...


I see your point.
Not that i have not seen blades with a rather more fragile aspect. But i lake the experience to discuss the subject, even much less than you, of course.
Indeed the blade thickness in this one is 6 mm by the ridge, although its lateral 'hooks' reach the 8 mm, partly because they have been beaten (hammered), for whatever reason, which made their rims even thicker.
Fernando

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Old 22nd August 2016, 03:00 PM   #13
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More...I add in retrospect the importance of looking at the martial arts of the Sri Lankan diaspora in an attempt to lock down these weapons probably absorbed from the Portuguese. This particular spear seems to be one such weapon.
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Old 22nd August 2016, 04:51 PM   #14
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Old 23rd August 2016, 11:44 AM   #15
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I illustrate below similar weapons from a variety of European locations...all Partisan styles ...It suggests that this form was copied into traditional weapons in Sri Lankla...I wondered if I could see Partisan spears at the back leaning against the wall in Rembrandts great work...so I included that...Partisan spears crop up in German, Italian, Portuguese and many other European regions. It makes sense that The Portuguese transported in this weapon to Sri Lanka...rather than the other way around.
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Old 23rd August 2016, 01:39 PM   #16
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At the Ratnapura Sri Lankan National Museum ~ Patisthnaya Spears.
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Old 23rd August 2016, 01:48 PM   #17
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Sri Lankan Partisan Spear...
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Old 24th August 2016, 07:16 AM   #18
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the partisan was imported by the Dutch! in Sri lanka (Ceylon)
Ceylon was between 1640 and 1800 of the VOC, It was conquered on Portugal.
During this period there were two types of partisans in use in the Netherlands, one with an openwork effects (ajour),fe mermen and mermaids. (see a rare spontoon from my collection which, to my knowledge no second copy is known, beyond on the paintings) and a closed Version.

best,
Jasper
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Old 24th August 2016, 10:31 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornelistromp
the partisan was imported by the Dutch! in Sri lanka (Ceylon)
Ceylon was between 1640 and 1800 of the VOC, It was conquered on Portugal.
During this period there were two types of partisans in use in the Netherlands, one with an openwork effects (ajour),fe mermen and mermaids. (see a rare spontoon from my collection which, to my knowledge no second copy is known, beyond on the paintings) and a closed Version.

best,
Jasper


Brilliant research bringing these fabulous paintings to Forum. This is very interesting! Naturally the obvious link in spear head style and the word to describe it in both European and Sri Lankan form are compelling and indeed I can see how these may be Dutch transmissions...however, it appears less than crystal clear not least in the way spears joined the Sri Lankan arsenal. It would be tempting to suggest that it was brought by the Portuguese since in the vanguard it was this spear that was the most popular weapon and it would have appeared much earlier than the Dutch.

Note, however, that of the twenty thousand soldiers manning Portuguese Forts on Sri Lanka only 1,000 were Portuguese whilst a great many were African. The assegai spear was therefor more popular in these hands.

See https://books.google.com.om/books?i...20lanka&f=false

From the ethnographic viewpoint I also note how music from the African tribes flowed into Sri Lanka.

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Old 24th August 2016, 10:46 AM   #20
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Old 24th August 2016, 12:37 PM   #21
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Magnificent example Jasper, that with openwork details in your collection.
Here is my other partisan, supposedly Swedish.

... And a similar one, with the etched face of King Gustav II Adolf, in the Brahe-Bielke arsenal, Skokloster castle, Sweden

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Old 24th August 2016, 01:44 PM   #22
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Here is another magnificent set of examples...I include a battle scene sketched to show the frenetic point at which a murderous close quarter encounter explodes with pole arms of various natures...

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