hand chiselled scrollwork decoration to base of blade

Complete early Sinhalese Polearm Halberd 'Patisthanaya'

A wonderful early Halberd or Spear type polearm from Sri Lanka ( Ceylon) generally known as a 'Patisthanaya'. The long shaft (92 inches!) is wholly lacquered for its entire length in varying designs including scrolling intertwined tendrils, waved and geometric motifs etc in colours of red, black, yellow and green. The weapon is fixed with a solid and very functional steel head with a broad double-edged blade fullered centrally, the lower section exquisitely hand chiselled with scrolling designs in high relief.

The general shape of the Patisthanaya resembles the halberds and partisans used in Western Europe in the early 17th century, although it is very likely that this trident-like form was actually used in Ceylon in medieval and even ancient times. The head of this polearm is attached to the shaft with two very long steel straps, with groups of three projecting rivets arranged decoratively down each side, the length of these straps as well as the overall strength and quality of the piece make it clear that this was a fully functional weapon, rather than a processional or purely status piece. The thickened projecting side blades to the head and strength of the shaft also support this. The shaft has some simple cutting marks into the butt which may have been some sort of armoury numbering system, or ownership marks.The overall length of this example is 101 inches! approximately 8.5 ft.

We feel confident in placing an early date early 18th century to this polearm,  possibly even 17th century. Some wear to lacquer and age patination throughout, a very rare piece surviving in wonderful condition!   indo persian

 

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