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Old 4th October 2012, 05:43 PM   #16
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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[QUOTE=Jim McDougall]
This provides a presumed early period for the zoomorphic hilt and quillon system on these swords as the example in Japan is from the Hasekura Tsunenaga embassy sent by Date Masamune 1613 return to Sendai, Japan in 1620.

This example is believed to have been obtained in Spain from Philip III and presented to Hasekura in reciprocation for Japanese weapons gifted, as it was unlawful to give Spanish weapons so this was in lieu. It is unclear how the kastane reached Spain, but these were clearly stately weapons which were also found with English merchants (Alexander Popham).
from : "The Kastane and the Keris and Thier Arrival in Japan, 1620"
Sasaki Kazuhiro, Royal Armouries Yearbook, Vol.3, 1998

Also discussed in "A Fundamental Study on Hasekuras keris and Kastane"
Bulletin of Sendai City Museum, Japan

Salaams Jim and All, Just checking back through the detail on the Japanese delegation to Spain . It appears that the Kastane was transferred by Franciscan monks from the Malabar Coast of India someone having obtained it from Sri Lanka and that it was given as you say as a delegation gift with the hope that Spain could enjoy trade relations with Japan and vice versa. It was placed in the Sendai Museum, Japan.

The Popham is very interesting and I believe their are Kastane exhibits in The Leeds Museum, UK... where the portrait is displayed.

I find it startling that the Kastane was forbidden to be worn in the Kandyan Kingdoms; Even the highest Adigars could only wear a short knife as part of their ceremonial dress.

Looking through Forum Library you will discover brass copied hilts probably European and some original form Sri Lankan exhibits on

A Dutch East Indies Co. marked blade is at

I believe that a number of things happened to the Kastane during the 3 nations occupation and we may need to look at these and in parallel with your questions some of which I have already remarked upon. Here are my questions~

1. Is the Kastane a Sri Lankan or Portuguese weapon?
2. Was it in fact a weapon, (a sword, a dagger or a court sword? or all of these)?
3. Why has it been drawn with a multitude of different sized blades and what is the significance of the VOC and other blade markings? Are there actually any EIC marked blades?
4. Is it related to the Nimcha of Europe or Zanzibar? Were the Moors of Sri Lanka responsible for bringing this migrating form?
5. What are Belly Dancing Kastane Swords and how did they develop, are they real and why are the hilts reversed?

Here I appeal for any lookers on... who have yet to join the Forum to come in from the cold and for current members ~ please enter the discussion. As usual we find ourselves at the forefront of an important topic ...largely working without a safety net ! All comments are warmly welcome... as are any photographs.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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