View Single Post
Old 9th October 2012, 06:13 PM   #40
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,985
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi

Originally Posted by fernando
[QUOTE=Ibrahiim al Balooshi][COLOR=Red]
What about the following approach:
The Kastane is a Sinhalese sword that might have been through timely modifications influenced by Portuguese ... both in hilt shape and perhaps in name.
Whether the term Kastane has derived from the Portuguese castão (stick knob) this is apparently an idea that is not so sustainable and may be no more than a suggestion. However it looks more plausible the written pretension that its blade ricasso and the two rings that bend and close towards the blade are signs of Portuguese influence ... the two bent rings recalling the (less) curved protections for the forefinger to hold the blunt ricasso, for better handling control; being this present in the Kastane as only a decoration detail, the Sinhalese having not adopted this way of handling the sword.

Perhaps is noteworthy to advance that:
Whether this is not scientifically or academically evidentiated, is something for which there is no need for exhaustive denial. It is only a refutable approach to the Kastane subject presented on a digestive manner. There will be no need to embark on a full thesis on historical and social events from the period, specially if its contents is composed by a massive narration that hardly contemplates the scope of our forum; weapons.

All the best Gentlemen


Salaams fernando ~ Thank you for your informed and well placed post on the idiosyncracies of this weapon which has for so long been shrouded in mystique but now with forum research now has a beam of light focussed upon it as never before.

Your main point, however, is puzzling since unless we discover who and what the influence was upon the hilt how can we unravel the sliding, slithering misinformation that appears to surround this conundrum?...Trying to be objective and to observe the clearly obvious historical evidence is surely the essence of this forum... unless we simply bow down to the "balloney" that has been promulgated for the last few centuries.

Not only is there confusion caused by the origins of the Hilt... and presumably the blade, but clouded by 3 loads of invaders and a serious period of belly dancer polluted weapons probably cast elsewhere (though I have no evidence of the casting locations yet) and though this is an obvious sideshow (no pun intended) the belly dancing issue did occur. The ensuing poor quality of such dancing implements cannot have helped.

Perhaps I have shoved in front of people too much detail... but since there was almost none before that must be a good thing... My main questions are narrowed on the question of Portuguese design influence versus purebred Sri Lankan origin: the latter which I suspect to be true. On the other hand as you point to a possible Portuguese hilt influence that can be viewed and weighed up.

The timeline has to be observed ... That is where historical records need looking at and as has been shown by Prasanna Weerakkody there is vital documentary within the regions Poetry~ Neither are directly concerned with swords but nor can we ignore what could be important information. I further urge that it is for the very reason the failure to understand the Kastane is becaause of its face value only... whilst the real proper research has fallen by the wayside.

I have shown good cause for the Makara arguement (discussion) and for a ballpark timeline for the Kastane. I have also illustrated the historical though splintered Kingdoms under whose auspices expert craft-workshops operated and who would have been very capable makers of the Kastane. The evidence of the Popham and the Japan delegation present in the Sendai museum has been taken into account. I cannot see where I may have missed the importance of the sword and having also placed several photographs ....?

Here is an extract made compact enough so people can readily observe the details ...of the Portuguese build up which is important to understand because they didn't suddenly seize partial control all at once in the early 17th C. Moreover this window into the important history shows the Moorish element and gives a flavour of the moment when it was all happening..

At the onset of the European period in Sri Lanka in the sixteenth century, there were three native centers of political power: the two Sinhalese kingdoms of Kotte and Kandy and the Tamil kingdom at Jaffna. Kotte was the principal seat of Sinhalese power, and it claimed a largely imaginary overlordship not only over Kandy but also over the entire island. None of the three kingdoms, however, had the strength to assert itself over the other two and reunify the island.

In 1505 Don Lourenço de Almeida, son of the Portuguese viceroy in India, was sailing off the southwestern coast of Sri Lanka looking for Moorish ships to attack when stormy weather forced his fleet to dock at Galle. Word of these strangers who "eat hunks of white stone and drink blood (presumably wine). . . and have guns with a noise louder than thunder. . ." spread quickly and reached King Parakramabahu VIII of Kotte (1484-1508), who offered gifts of cinnamon and elephants to the Portuguese to take back to their home port at Cochin on the Malabar Coast of southwestern India. The king also gave the Portuguese permission to build a residence in Colombo for trade purposes. Within a short time, however, Portuguese militaristic and monopolistic intentions became apparent. Their heavily fortified "trading post" at Colombo and open hostility toward the island's Muslim traders aroused Sinhalese suspicions.

Following the decline of the Chola as a maritime power in the twelfth century, Muslim trading communities in South Asia claimed a major share of commerce in the Indian Ocean and developed extensive east-west, as well as Indo-Sri Lankan, commercial trade routes. As the Portuguese expanded into the region, this flourishing Muslim trade became an irresistible target for European interlopers. The sixteenth-century Roman Catholic Church was intolerant of Islam and encouraged the Portuguese to take over the profitable shipping trade monopolized by the Moors. In addition, the Portuguese would later have another strong motive for hostility toward the Moors because the latter played an important role in the Kandyan economy, one that enabled the kingdom successfully to resist the Portuguese.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote