koftgari

Mughal Sabre w/ Broad Blade. Koftgari / Silver Inlayed Grip by Manish Parihar + Rehoned Blade by Yours Truly (Original Blade Furnished in Rough State by MFC). #sword #swords #soldiers #warriors #martialarts #war #india #indian #soldiers #mughal #silver #spada #spadas #espadas #espada #schwert #schwerter #knife #custom #handmade #steel #koftgari

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Pata (gauntlet-sword)

This uniquely Indian form of sword combined weapon and armor. The pata was gripped by the crossbar inside the hilt, with the blade extending as a projection of the forearm.

As European traders came to India in the 1500s and 1600s, they brought swords from the blademaking centers in Spain, Italy, and Germany. The blades of these swords were much admired in India, and some were fitted into Indian-made hilts. English swords were less respected: one Indian admiral of the 1600s remarked that English blades were “only fit to cut butter.”

These two pieces are exquisite examples of the decorative styles of northern and southern India. The gilded pata is decorated using the characteristic “koftgari” technique of Mughal northern India, which was heavily influenced by the cultural traditions of Persia. The gold and silver inlay is incised with fine decorative details visible only under the closest scrutiny. The south Indian pata has minimal surface decoration, relying instead on the sculptural form of the metal itself for visual effect.

Description

Long, double-edged steel European blade with spatulate point. Riveted at the base of the blade is a gauntlet-like defense that is globose at the hand, fitted within with a crossbar grip. The deep gutter-like extension over the wrist and lower forearm is open on the inside, and fitted with a thin, textile lining, and expands towards the opening for the arm. There is a pivoting cross-brace near the opening at the top. The edge here is pointed, and with a boxed turn. The surface and edges are decorated with foliate motifs in both gold and silver “koft-gari” bands; the surface of the gold is incised with fine decorative detail.

Curator’s Comments

This uniquely Indian form of sword combined weapon and armor. The pata was capable of powerful cuts in virtually any direction. Since its use required special training and skill, patas were often part of swordplay demonstrations. There are even references to warriors with patas in both hands, appearing “much like a windmill.” This exquisite piece is decorated in the characteristic “koftgari” technique of Mughal-period arms and armor, with surface inlay of gold and silver, the precious metal incised with fine decorative details visible only under the closest scrutiny. [India Exhibition]