A South Indian parrying Saintie
The Indian subcontinent is known for its inventiveness of arms and armour. Combination weapons are often found throughout all parts of India. This rare type of parrying spear is called a ‘Saintie’ and is a short spear with integrated knuckle guard. Parrying weapons like these were often used in conjunction with another weapon, mostly a sword. Basically an all steel spear with an added hilt half way.
South India – 18th century
Materials: Steel, Silver, Velvet, Textile
Antique saintie can be considered incredibly rare. A few are known in museum collections such as the The Metropolitan Museum of Art New York and the Royal Armouries in Leeds. Attributed to both North and South India. Our example has its origin in South India which can be seen in the typical ringed shaft and stretched pattern on the guard. The saintie was commonly used in the 17th century until the first half of the 19th century. Parrying weapons like these were made for close quarter combat, able to trike fast and quickly parry the opponents strike. Although similar examples originate from whole India, I found them only decorated in silver, never in koftgari or gold.
A rather well made piece brought with a strong and heavy spearhead with double cutting edges and a central ridge ending in up in a reinforced tip. The bottom end of the spearhead is decorated with a fine chiseled lotus symbol. The shaft is decorated with silvered vertical rings and the hilt is covered velvet and textile for a more pleasant grip. The lower shaft is ditto decorated with vertical rings ending in a very typical knobbed end. This feature seems to be common on 18th century examples. Older examples are known, among some found in the famous Junagarh Fortress of which held the Bikaner armoury, have slightly shorter, more rounded ends.
Condition: Very good condition, some minor ware on the steel due to age. A good original patina and good quality heavy spearhead.
Total length: 86.5cm
Spearhead length: 14cm
Spearhead thickness: 10mm (At widest point)
Weight: 837 gr.
– G. Cameron Stone’s ‘A glossary of the construction, decoration and use of arms and armour in all countries and in all time” p.536
– R. Reddy ‘Arms and armour of India, Nepal & Sri Lanka’ p.333
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