A Pata Gauntlet Sword
The ‘Pata’ is an iconic weapon which has its origin in India. Basically an iron or bronze gauntlet with two langets holding a long double edged flexible blade.
Spread over entire India, but mostly associated with the Deccan and Maratha kingdom. The ‘Pata’ was mostly wielded together with a buckler or sometimes even worn on both hands.
India, Maratha Empire – 17th century.
Materials: Iron, Steel
The ‘Pata’ is mostly seen in two shapes, a flat plated armguard with attached blade, mostly attributed to the Maratha Kingdom. The more common gauntlet shaped examples are the ones like offered here. The decoration and aesthetic features points us to the region and period of these types. Some are decorated with chiseled patterns or even openwork, while the northen examples are made of wootz steel and decorated with koftgari foliage.
The ‘Pata’ is mostly attributed to the cavalry, as mentioned by Cameron Stone, but a painting of nobility sport exercises in the Gentil Album housed in the Victoria & Albert Museum from around 1774 shows an infantry warrior wielding a ‘Pata’ in his right hand and a ‘Dhal’ in his left. Therefor I believe the ‘Pata’ was also practiced by infantry and not only by cavalry. The blades were mostly European import blades because of their superior quality in this period. They were often traded for spices and other valuables. The blades are mostly doubled edged and very flexible, often broadsword or rapier blades were used. The ‘Pata’ was therefor excellent for cavalry use to strike on infantry, but was not suitable for thrusting.
A genuine old example, dating from the 17th century. The decoration is rather modest, but yet elegant. The gauntlet protects all the way down to the lower arm and is decorated with a lobbed rim which is often seen on Deccan and Maratha arms and armour. The arm piece is decorated with horizontal protruding lines. The edge is reinforced and decorated with a chiselmotif which is commonly seen on European armour. The inside was originally filled with a padded textile liner and has an iron riveted crossbar for a firm grip. The back-end has a metal loop decorated with waterdrop-shaped-ends for a better grip and balance.
The blade: A fine, assumably Italian or German, early 17th century blade. Double edged and likely made in Genoa or Solingen when inspecting the marks. The blade was riveted to the gauntlet with two langets.
Condition: Very good considering its age. The hilt has a fine patina, but has spots that are worn through and a dent on the right. The blade is in very good condition, slightly bent.
Gauntlet length: 48cm
Blade length: 95cm
Blade thickness: 3.6cm
Total length: 127.3cm
Provenance: Dutch private collection.
– Arms & Armour of India,Nepal & Sri-lanka – Ravinder Reddy p.334-335
– Hindu Arms and Rituals – Robert Elgood p.99-100
Copyright by Peter Andeweg – Antiques by the Sea – 2020
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