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Old 31st March 2021, 04:52 AM   #1
DavidFriedman
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Default Lohangi Katti Indian Mace

Itís a pleasure to be a new member of this group. I welcome an opportunity to learn from you all.

Here is a recent acquisition that I very much enjoy. It is a Lohangi Katti mace from India, circa 1800ís. Itís length is 57 inches with a unique iron/steel wrapping configuration around rattan with well fashioned ferrules.

I would love any feedback on its history. It is featured in Egertons book and I found two examples in British museums identical. The VA Museum.

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Old 1st April 2021, 01:10 PM   #2
Ian
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Welcome to the forum David.

That's a lovely mace. I recall seeing a similar one in Egerton's book, and his extensive personal collection mostly ended up at the Victoria and Albert Museum, so maybe it's not surprising that you found pictures of examples there. Sorry, but I don't have any specific information about these.
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Old 1st April 2021, 11:21 PM   #3
Philip
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A wonderful, untouched piece with mellow patina. Quite a neat bit of blacksmithing on the iron "cage" surrounding the shaft.

It would be great if someone on this forum has additional information on these rare weapons and the tribe that used them; pity that the information in Egerton is so scanty.
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Old 2nd April 2021, 06:04 AM   #4
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While it is true that Egertons description is notably vague, what is important is to note the regions he names as locations of collection. #8 comes from Indore (Madhya Pradesh location); while #9 is from Satara, a location in Maharastra state in Western Ghats.

These regions are 'Deccani' and regions of the Maratha Empire. Notes on these weapons (they seem to be deemed 'clubs' rather than maces, and are over 4 ft. in length. Both areas are vast and covering Central India (typically considered the Deccan) and descriptions term these as used by 'aboriginal tribes' of Central India.

The collective term for 'aboriginal' tribes in India is 'Adivasi', and it seems to be inclusive of many tribes and sub tribes, so it is hard to be specific as to which tribe might have use of these. It does seem that whomever used them, it was a weapon favored by village watchmen. In appearance they seem to be more a contrived style of club which must have become popularized among tribal peoples in these regions, and notably uses the flanged mace head style seen in the maces of warriors of Marathas and others.
Among the tribes of Madhya Pradesh are the Gonds, and possibly searches into this and associated tribes might lead to more specific detail.

Robert Elgood ("Hindu Arms & Ritual" , 2004, p.281 lists the 'Lohangi' and Longi Kati' with apparent reference from Egerton, but adds cite to "List of Weapons Used in the Dakhan and Khandesh", W.F.Sinclair , Indian Antiquary, Vol.II, p.231, (1878).
I have this reference but need to locate it to see if any viable notes might lend more.
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Old 2nd April 2021, 08:22 PM   #5
Jim McDougall
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From : "List of Weapons used in the Dakhan and Khandesh"
W.F.Sinclair, 'the Indian Antiquary', Vol. II, p.216-17, Aug.1873

"...perhaps the most popular of all native weapons is the lohangi or longi kati-or ironbound bamboo: specially affected by Ramusis' and village watchmen.
I have one weighing six pounds, which was the property of a Koli dakait called Bugunya Naik who used to carry this in his left hand and a sheathless patti in his right when on service. Bagunya however disdained ordinarily to use his right hand or his trenchant blade but was content upon common occasions to rely on the club in his left, with which he actually knocked down two men in the affray that caused his final apprehension. "

The term 'Koli' apparently was used in regions of Gujerat to describe lawless people, but the Koli as a people were interpolated with the Bhil people. The term 'dacoit' (Sinclair notes 'dakait') means highwaymen or robbers.
This likely corresponds to the individual Sinclair describes and the 'affray' in which he was apprehended.

It would appear that the blades/flanges on the head of these clubs may have come from the 'bladed' maces termed 'shashbur' (the word means six bladed but they may have 6,7 or 8). These were used by Mughals but of course Rajputs as well ("Islamic Arms and Armor of Muslim India", Dr. S.Z.Haider, Lahore, 1991, p.226).
These Koli often assimilated into the Rajput ethnicity so influence would be of course likely.

Last edited by Jim McDougall; 2nd April 2021 at 08:36 PM.
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Old 4th April 2021, 07:18 AM   #6
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Default Lohangi Katti

Ian, Philip and Jim, thank you for your responses. Jim, your references are amazing, thank you. I have Egertons entry, but did not know of Sinclairís. I look forward to digging up his references.

I showed the weapon to a friend, who thought it was a fantastic piece. He noted some number (perhaps museum inventory numbers) which my fading eyesight missed. Tomorrow in the light and with the aid of a lens, I will take a picture and post the numbers on the rattan.

Iím wondering if inside of the rattan, if there may be a thin iron rod bridging through the entire length, the top and bottom ferrules, pinned in by pins of indeterminate length. Iím thinking to find a very strong magnet to feel any magnetic pull along the shaft.

Thanks again for all of your help. It will be exciting to study the tribes that were mentioned.

One more thing. I asked a teacher of Indian martial arts about it. He mentioned that, from his understanding, Kaparlik (sp?) skull carrying acolytes of the Shiva tradition (if I understood correctly) used this type of mace/staff. A legend was that these semi-naked spiritual warriors would sneak up on tigers and kill them in their sleep. It sounds to me more a metaphor of courage, stealth and wildness, rather than an actual practice. But I wonder if that is a lead to follow up on as well.
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Old 6th April 2021, 05:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
From : "List of Weapons used in the Dakhan and Khandesh"
W.F.Sinclair, 'the Indian Antiquary', Vol. II, p.216-17, Aug.1873

"...perhaps the most popular of all native weapons is the lohangi or longi kati-or ironbound bamboo: specially affected by Ramusis' and village watchmen.
I have one weighing six pounds, which was the property of a Koli dakait called Bugunya Naik who used to carry this in his left hand and a sheathless patti in his right when on service. Bagunya however disdained ordinarily to use his right hand or his trenchant blade but was content upon common occasions to rely on the club in his left, with which he actually knocked down two men in the affray that caused his final apprehension. "

The term 'Koli' apparently was used in regions of Gujerat to describe lawless people, but the Koli as a people were interpolated with the Bhil people. The term 'dacoit' (Sinclair notes 'dakait') means highwaymen or robbers.
This likely corresponds to the individual Sinclair describes and the 'affray' in which he was apprehended.

It would appear that the blades/flanges on the head of these clubs may have come from the 'bladed' maces termed 'shashbur' (the word means six bladed but they may have 6,7 or 8). These were used by Mughals but of course Rajputs as well ("Islamic Arms and Armor of Muslim India", Dr. S.Z.Haider, Lahore, 1991, p.226).
These Koli often assimilated into the Rajput ethnicity so influence would be of course likely.
Hi Jim,

The Koli people are still found in Gujarat today. I worked with a large group of them and studied the nutritional status of their children (which was surprisingly good compared with the nutrition of locally resident children). The Koli are nomadic itinerant workers and moveóhomes and familiesófrom major town to major town. Snake charming, magic tricks, making of trinkets and charms are their means of making a living. Local residents treat them with disdain and suspicion, relegating them to the class of "untouchables." While nominally Hindus, the Koli are known to eat meat also (which likely helps improve the nutrition of their children by increasing the intake of iron, protein, and vitamins).

In many ways the Koli resemble the Romani of Europe. Indeed, there may be a direct relationship with the Romani (gypsies) who speak a language very similar to Gujarati. Reputable anthropologists have explored the genetic and cultural links between the Romani and the Koli.

The Koli of today could hardly be called dacoit. They may partake in petty larceny, but they are a peaceful group in my experience and of a rather likeable disposition when I got to know them. Of course, the fact that their group was paid a fee for the privilege of studying their children's height and weight and obtaining nutritional histories, may have had something to do with why they interacted positively with me. Being an old white Sahib with a beard was probably a help too.

In the group of Koli whom I studied there were also Bhil people traveling with them. However, the Bhil were definitely subordinate to the Koli in terms of where they were allowed to encamp and their share of funds collected by the overall group. The Bhil children were also more undernourished than the Koli children.

Ian
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Old 4th April 2021, 07:34 AM   #8
DavidFriedman
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Default Egerton

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
Welcome to the forum David.

That's a lovely mace. I recall seeing a similar one in Egerton's book, and his extensive personal collection mostly ended up at the Victoria and Albert Museum, so maybe it's not surprising that you found pictures of examples there. Sorry, but I don't have any specific information about these.
Iím wondering if this one may have originally belonged to Egerton. Time for some sleuthing :-)
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Old 4th April 2021, 07:52 AM   #9
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Here is the link to the Victoria Albert Museum:

https://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O442021/club-unknown




QUOTE=Ian]Welcome to the forum David.

That's a lovely mace. I recall seeing a similar one in Egerton's book, and his extensive personal collection mostly ended up at the Victoria and Albert Museum, so maybe it's not surprising that you found pictures of examples there. Sorry, but I don't have any specific information about these.[/QUOTE]
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