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Old 31st March 2019, 05:22 PM   #5
Nihl
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Hey there Manish, welcome to the forum!

I consider myself to be a bit of a newbie too, so some other users here will probably be able to tell you way more useful information your pattas, but here's my analysis:

Given their form, these would appear to be early/late 19th century "perfomance pattas", ie pieces that are meant to be show-offy and used in parades and martial arts exhibitions. These kinds of pattas are pretty much always made out of brass (like yours appear to be) and usually feature zoomorphic (animal) or occasionally anthropomorphic (human) designs on them, usually on the "face" of the patta where the blade is attached, as is the case with your elephant and lion headed pattas. Futhermore, these kinds of patta tend to be more sparsely decorated with shallower, vestigial designs reminiscent of those featured on earlier patta used in combat. These can mostly be seen on your elephant patta. I've attached images below of earlier patta with similar design elements.

Then here are some basic questions about them physically that I know other forum users (including myself) would appreciate knowing. How flexible are the blades? Are they stiff or springy? Are you at all able to give us the dimensions of each patta? Like how wide the inside of the gauntlet is? I, oddly enough, have only ever had pattas that were too big for my arms, and I'm a normal (albeit tall) adult male!

Looking at the tiger-headed one first, I would date it to late 19th century. It's a bit more simplistic than the other one, and quite clearly features a bunch of those aforementioned "shallow designs" in all of the various dots that appear to be punched into the "arm" of the gauntlet. One important thing seen in the evolution of the regular patta into the perfomance pata is that, along the way, they invariably lose the arm of their gauntlet. This part gets removed as it is what mainly prevents the use of the wrist in combat, and without it martial artist can whip their blades around in faster, fancier patterns that would otherwise be impossible to preform with a standard pattern. It could quite possibly be early 19th century, or conversely early 20th century, however I unaware of when this switch actually happened towards having a smaller gauntlet, if a definitive switch in styles even happened at all.

The elephant patta appears to be early 19th century, based on how many design elements it has that are reminiscent of earlier pattas. I'll do my best to attach an image showing this, but in words it goes something like: they both have distinct borders around the outside of the gauntlet; they both have decorative borders that divide that the surface of the patta into different sections (hand/head vs arm); around the back of the patta where you insert your arm, they both have a thickened/"reinforced" border back there; they both have a "spine" that runs along the back of the arm, dividing it in half. This aforementioned spine is clearly vestigial on the elephant patta, as it only a little of it remains, running briefly along the middle of the arm. Other than that, one thing to note is that Shivaji, at least in one portrait of him, is shown wearing a zoomorphic patta, and thus this particular style of gauntlet might be seen as more auspicious or regal because of it's relation to Shivaji possibly owning one.

Finally to the unfortunate bit, I, out of my newbie-ness, can't tell you anything about where these patta were made. My guess would probably be somewhere in Maharashtra because of the association with the patta and the Maratha Empire, however equally likely would be that it came from somewhere in Rajasthan due to their historical arms production, or perhaps (and almost more likely) somewhere different altogether!
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