Place of Origin: DECCAN, INDIA
Date: 17th - 18th Century
A steel butt for a south Indian lance or spear known as a sang, used to counterbalance the spearhead.
Many notable collections contain sang heads, but spear butts of this quality are unusual. This example is of conical form with two bands of applied vertically-fluted and bulbous mouldings each secured by flat, engraved iron washers (that at the opening for the haft being wider). These bulbous mouldings are further decorated with silver waves which – from a horizontal perspective – give the appearance of chevrons arranged into columns, each column neatly occupying a single flute (this decoration is interrupted in parts with further floral motifs). The main section of the conical form then is adorned profusely with an elegant array of intertwining leaved tendrils and flowerheads in gold and silver on a punched ground, culminating in the four-sided tip that was used to keep the spear securely in the ground when unneeded.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York owns a spear butt (Acc. No. 36.25.1928) of similar elegance, its bulbous mouldings having been spirally fluted, though it is not decorated with precious metals (this example is illustrated in Robert Elgood, Hindu Arms and Ritual: Arms and Armour from India 1400-1865, Eburon Academic Publishers, Delft (Netherlands), p. 193).