‘Sikh’ Sosun Pattah
Origin: Punjab (Lahore)
Date: 19th century
Materials: Silver, pattern welded steel and steel
A Mughal style Sosun Pattah with a silver ‘Sikh’ hilt.
THE SOSUN PATTAH
The Sosun Pattah, meaning ‘Lilly Leaf’, earns its name due to the elegant shape of the blade. The shape of the blade makes it unusual but perfectly suitable for slashing and cutting. The blade is believed to beinfluenced by the ancient ‘Kopis’ blades from Egypt and the Turkish ‘Yataghan’ and was most popular among the Jaipur and Rajput. However, many Sosun Pattahs were produced during the Sikh rule, at the seat of Lahore. The Sosun Pattah is one, if not the most, sought after type of Indian sword for collectors.
The hilt is of typical form for a sosun pattah. It is complete with a knuckle guard with a lion at the end of the terminal. The style of hilt is fashioned in a local Punjabi style with a vase-shaped grip section and short, slightly forward inclined quillons. Whats unique about this hilt is the flower head disk pommel. This type of flower (or petal) disk pommel was exclusively made during the Sikh reign in the late 18th - early 19th century and only done in Lahore. This addition to the hilt indicates that this Sosun Pattah was therefore manufactured at Lahore under the Sikh reign. The decoration on the hilt is stunning. Usually, Sosun Pattahs have gold hilts. However, one with silver work, especially Silver work of this quality is rare. The thick silver overlay is depicting floral motifs against a blackened hilt. This makes the silver stand out more than usual. The hilt is in excellent condition with all the silver overlay intact and bright.
Its blade is razor sharp, retaining its original edge and the entire length of the blade features a bloomery watered steel blade with clear patterning visible throughout. There are also signs of differential heat treatment in areas of the blade meaning it is far more tough and durable. This blade is in fact a San Mai blade. San Mai (Japanese: 三枚, Hepburn: sanmai), in the context of metal blade construction/metalwork, refers to a knife, blade or sword that has the hard steel hagane forming the blade's edge, and the iron/stainless forming a jacket on both sides. The term, and its root honsanmai, has been used to describe that construction method for many hundreds of years, from around 1300 A.D. It refers to when three layers of steel are used. The center is hard, and the side is typically softer. This type of steel was superior for the sosun pattah giving its intended ‘hacking’ use. Far superior to wootz or other types of construction. Only a handful of Indian sword have this type of construction. This being the only high quality one available on the market.
The Victoria & Albert museum owns two Sosun Pattahs: Accession number: 3531&A(IS) and IS.228&A-1964. Both these examples feature a wootz blade, which was typical of Sosun Pattahs. However, as you can see - our hilt exhibits a unique design and craftsmanship.
There is also a Kirach in the Royal Collection with a gold hilt of identical form to this sosun pattah. RCIN 38197
Overall, this is a remarkable Sosun Pattah and presents itself to be one of the best on the market today. With it being in near mint condition, its perfect for seasoned collectors looking to complete their collection with a Sosun Pattah or find their centre piece. The flower disk pommel indicates this particular Sosun Pattah is from Lahore and therefore makes it sought after for those interested in acquiring arms and armour associated with the Sikh Empire period. Such examples seldom come to the market and are often now kept in private collection or held for investment purposes.