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Jack Sutter




Location: United States
Joined: 15 Mar 2015

Posts: 38

PostPosted: Wed 08 Nov, 2017 1:58 pm    Post subject: A Maratha Pata/Gauntlet Sword: Real or fake?         Reply with quote

Hello!

A few weeks ago I acquired a Pata style gauntlet sword at an estate sale here in the North Texas area. Not having much experience with antique sword collecting I could not say for sure whether it was genuine (I have my doubts about that, see below), but I was sufficiently happy with pieces qualities and price that I thought it would be a nice addition to my collection regardless of its origin. That being said, I am quite interested in finding out as much as I can about it.

First, the not so good part: The blade.

The blade is absolutely rubbish. It is slightly sharp at present, but I canít imagine that it was ever especially sharp or that it would ever had held and edge particularly well. Itís overall shape is extremely rough and uneven. The blade is totally flat and extremely thin, being just over 1 mm thick for its entire length. It is ridiculously flexible, flopping around with the slightest amount of lateral movement, and there is a noticeable bend in the middle.

Next, the good part: The gauntlet.

The gauntlet is actually quite nice. It seems to be quite well made, all the parts fit together very well and finished as to be perfectly functional, without a sharp edge or uncomfortable join to be found. The gauntlet itself seems to be comparatively large (dimensions are at the bottom). I have relatively small hands, being about 90mm or 3.875 inches wide at the knuckles, and the gauntlet fits me very comfortably (and could perhaps be made even a bit better with a little bit of padding). The grip is a steel bar surrounded by a free floating metal tube, which knocks about inside when the gauntlet is empty but becomes mostly immobilized when gripped. The surface of the gauntlet is covered in the remains of various decorations, which have a slight silvery glint in places (perhaps this was once silver Koftgari?), and there is also a decorative metal trim around the outer lip of the gauntlet. The langets have little surviving decoration and hold the blade with only three rivets, which seem to have rather inadequate peens.

The weapon has a large amount of overall patination and rust, which appears to be more or less the same across the whole length of the weapon, which suggests to me that the gauntlet and the blade are original to eachother. However, the fact that such a totally inferior blade was mounted on an otherwise functional and nicely finished gauntlet seems odd to me. It would seem that the gauntlet maker knew what he was doing, but the bladesmith apparently did not.

This leaves me with all sorts of questions. The quality of the gauntlet seems to suggest something more than modern tourist junk, yet the quality of the blade is abysmal. I doubt very much that it could be a European import, and even if the blade were a simply a low end domestic product, why waste a good gauntlet on it? I am tempted to speculate that this is perhaps a 19th or early 20th century example made by people skilled in the traditional manufacturing techniques of this particular style, but intended for either show or sale to foreign tourists (and therefore married to an more or less non-functional blade). But again, that's just my personal guess, and I'd really appreciate if anyone has any other feedback on this object. If nothing else it's a nice wall hanger, and while the blade is awful I reckon the gauntlet itself (which is the interesting part after all) is nicer and more functional than anything I could have gotten from a modern maker at a comparable price.

The overall dimensions of the gauntlet are below:

Overall length: approximately 47 inches / 1119.38 cm
Blade length: 35.5 inches / 90.17 cm
Length of the gauntlet: 11.5 inches / 29.21 cm
Width of the gauntlet at the wrist: Interior 3.125 inches / 7.9375 cm, exterior 3.5 inches / 8.89 cm.
Width of the gauntlet at the grip: 4.875 inches / 12.3825 cm interior, 5.125 inches / 13.0175 cm exterior
Width of the gauntlet at the mouth: 4.125 inches / 10.4775 cm interior, 4.625 inches / 11.7475 cm exterior

Links to pictures are below.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/154059059@N02/26496411569/in/album-72157666082575629/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/154059059@N02/24401599578/in/album-72157666082575629/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/154059059@N02/26496411649/in/album-72157666082575629/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/154059059@N02/37561789664/in/album-72157666082575629/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/154059059@N02/24401599658/in/album-72157666082575629/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/154059059@N02/26496411699/in/album-72157666082575629/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/154059059@N02/24401599778/in/album-72157666082575629/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/154059059@N02/26496411739/in/album-72157666082575629/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/154059059@N02/37561789804/in/album-72157666082575629/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/154059059@N02/26496411759/in/album-72157666082575629/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/154059059@N02/24401600008/in/album-72157666082575629/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/154059059@N02/26496411789/in/album-72157666082575629/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/154059059@N02/24401600098/in/album-72157666082575629/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/154059059@N02/26496411809/in/album-72157666082575629/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/154059059@N02/38217756456/in/album-72157666082575629/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/154059059@N02/24401600228/in/album-72157666082575629/

"To my mind, all good things come to a point....swords, for instance." -GK Chesterton.
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Ralph Grinly





Joined: 19 Jan 2011

Posts: 278

PostPosted: Thu 09 Nov, 2017 11:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pic's not viewable for folks without Flikr account Sad
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E.B. Erickson
Industry Professional



Location: Thailand
Joined: 23 Aug 2003

Posts: 429

PostPosted: Fri 10 Nov, 2017 4:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I used to own a Pata with a plain flat flexible blade. Research indicated that the thin flexy blade Pata were for doing a form of sword dancing.

Now it was back in the 1970s that I had this sword, and I cannot recall where I found my information or what the sword dance was called, but maybe this post can steer you in a useful direction.

--ElJay
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Jack Sutter




Location: United States
Joined: 15 Mar 2015

Posts: 38

PostPosted: Sat 11 Nov, 2017 9:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
Ralph Grinly wrote:
Pic's not viewable for folks without Flikr account Sad


They're set to private.


Dangit! Still getting used to Flikr, had to switch over after the Photobucket debacle. They should be working now.

"To my mind, all good things come to a point....swords, for instance." -GK Chesterton.
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Eric S




Location: new orleans
Joined: 22 Nov 2009
Reading list: 8 books

Posts: 791

PostPosted: Mon 13 Nov, 2017 12:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

E.B. Erickson wrote:
I used to own a Pata with a plain flat flexible blade. Research indicated that the thin flexy blade Pata were for doing a form of sword dancing.

Now it was back in the 1970s that I had this sword, and I cannot recall where I found my information or what the sword dance was called, but maybe this post can steer you in a useful direction.

--ElJay
Sorry but this is not correct information.....unless you can come up with anything to back up your statement.
https://www.pinterest.com/worldantiques/
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Eric S




Location: new orleans
Joined: 22 Nov 2009
Reading list: 8 books

Posts: 791

PostPosted: Mon 13 Nov, 2017 12:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jack, your pata looks authentic to me. I have seen many with this type of thin, flexible blade. Notice how the blade could have easily been removed and replaced with just few rivets. I have read that these were used by mounted soldiers and that the blades were like this for a specific reason.
https://www.pinterest.com/worldantiques/
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E.B. Erickson
Industry Professional



Location: Thailand
Joined: 23 Aug 2003

Posts: 429

PostPosted: Tue 14 Nov, 2017 3:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As I said, I am basing my statement upon what I remember, did not claim that my memory was perfect, and also stated that my comment was meant as a possible guide for further research. I made no claim that my statement was authoritative, so why the comment that my statement is "incorrect"? It is a perfectly correct statement of what I remember, and was not intended to be in any way the final word on the subject of whippy bladed Pata.

And why is my statement incorrect, and why is your claim that ..."I have read that these were used by mounted soldiers and that the blades were like this for a specific reason" any better? You challenge me to come up with something to back up my statement - what do you have to back up your statement?

And, by the way, my comment had nothing to do with the authenticity of the piece. It looks good to me as well.

--ElJay
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