Originally Posted by Prasanna Weerakkody
Kai, I will try to get a set of additional images of the sword with the permission of the owner. Hilt as you say is horn and guards all of steel with brass inlay work. There are many swords surviving specially in Buddhist and Hindu temples that are said to be weapons gifted by King Rajasinghe I post to war victories. very few of these are Kasthana, with most being captured Portuguese swords. But this may indicate the possibility of a piece surviving under protected conditions.
Thank you Balooshi for the complements.
Fernando, Great to see these guns; though there are many examples of the “Bondikula” type guns around (the last one in your collection) I have not seen any similar to the two earlier pieces. curiously the ornamentation of these does not entirely follow Sinhala traditional motifs… even the scroll work on the Makara head on the lock etc seem to be a little away from the usual form. Hope you could let know where this collection is from.
There are text references to Fire or gun powder weapons in use 1-2 centuries prior to the arrival of the Portuguese in Sri Lanka. The form of the weapon is not known and may indicate a rocket type weapon instead of a gun. In the text “Kandauru siritha” (Order of the Camp) there is a reference to a battle which commences by the simultaneous firing of 400 “Wedi” meaning Gunfire/Artillery or any weapon using Gun powder.
Salaams Prasanna Weerakkody ~ Well if the Bondikula have Makara heads on the locks which are pretty well identical to those on the hilt of the Kastane ... and reflected in the two headed axe earlier as well as every picture of Kastanes so far... does that mean we are searching for this motif (The Makara) and not the Lion ?
Fernando ~ Your excellent references pose a problem, since, it more or less indicates that Portuguese and Sri Lankan workshops were working together to produce weapons and in a definable time slot. In doing so is it not feasible that they also combined decorative techniques as shown by your fine pictures of the guns with Makara
If that is indeed the case we have a pointer to the possible "combined construction" of other weapons including Kastane which is interesting (even if it does mean that we are at full circle in determining more closely the origins of that sword, though, now with a completely balanced set of parameters).
Obviously, since The Portuguese were supported by a large section of the Sri Lankan fighters (coercing mercenaries was a very major part of the Portuguese "modus opperandi" ) it is entirely possible that this craftsmanship liaison could have occurred well prior to their late 17th C dominance. Target range mid to late 16th C perhaps?
Thus we may have a time zone;the mid to late 16th C. and a specific style to search for; Incorporating The Makara Hilt through a liaison between craftsmen; Portuguese and Sri Lankan.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.