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Old 20th October 2012, 06:21 PM   #71
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Join Date: Dec 2004
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Originally Posted by Prasanna Weerakkody
... 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..

As i referenced in my post, those examples belong in the collection of German/Portuguese collector and arms historian Rainer Daehnhardt. He has written a few books approaching arms and armour from the Portuguese discoveries period/route and is the person i phoned to seek information on the portuguese influences in the kaskara.

Originally Posted by Prasanna Weerakkody
... 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.

Quite plausible. Not surprising if Chinese brought over 'hand gonnes' and Indians followed by Arabs provided development of fire guns in Ceilão.
Also to consider that, in the field of metalurgy, one of the earliest evidences of iron metalurgy was found in the area de Samanalawewa.
I bet you would know the work of Portuguese Captain João Ribeiro translated as The Historical Fatality of the Island of Ceylon, which memories he sent the King in 1685, where he gives account that Sinhalese war people used following arms;
Short swords of two and half palms (spans) which they called calachurros. The soldiers are Lascarins, some lancers with eighteen palms lances, some others musketeers, being rather sharp shooters; assuming these are not stone (flintlock?) but cord (matchlock?), they have spring as if they were. Others are archers and very good in that. Some bring muskets with eight palm barrels and forty pounds weight, shooting four ounce bullets. However they don't shoot them against their chest but have in the forearm two legs with one côvado (45 cms.)length ... they call these standing muskets ....

The most intriguing of these weapons is what they called calachurros, a term potentialy 'moulded' into portuguese, which i wonder if you Prasanna would familiar with, as to know its actual Sinhalese term and actual weapon model.

Just for fun a couple pictures of a beautiful Cingalo-Portuguese 'espingardão' (long gun) kept in the Metropolitan museum. Contrary to Jawa and Japan where in principle only matchlock models were copied, Goese and Sinhalese gun smiths also reproduced the so called Anselmo lock.

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