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Old 21st October 2012, 03:27 PM   #73
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Originally Posted by Prasanna Weerakkody
Balooshi, Use of Makara is widespread in Sinhala art and it even appears commonly in the secondary motifs in the Kasthana. But the Hilt of the Kasthana is a lion head. If you take some time and may be look at my earlier base line in differentiating the Lion, Makara and Serapendiya heads you may start seeing the subtle differences in each. I know it is not clear to someone not used to the forms used by the Sinhala artists - I too had problems with these for a long time while studying Sinhala art history. Also the Lion head appears in two primary forms with a highly modified -grotesque form with a rounded knob-like canine tooth which represent early types with links to design elements akin to the Yapahuwa Kingdom Lion (Pre-Kotte), and the latter Lion heads that are influenced by the Europeanized Lion motifs with normal teeth.

You are correct in assuming the combined workshops. The Last Sinhala throne (which is now in the Colombo Museum) is a good example. The throne was a gift to the King from the Dutch and show Both Sinhala and Europeanized motifs. The workmen guilds within the Sinhala Kingdoms would stay true to Sinhala cultural system and motifs while workshops in the areas controlled by the Portuguese and Dutch areas seem to have produces many un-usual pieces.

Fernando- sorry I missed the reference in your earlier post, but the additional info is welcome. The issue about the Calachurros is something that had intrigued me for a while. The Sinhala swords are traditionally called “Kaduwa, Kagga, , Asi, Asi-patha etc. or does it mean there were a class of weapons at the time with a separate name in use that lead to the Kasthana; which may be the basis for Calachurro. still not clear of the affinities of the term. The short two and half palm sword may refer to a Roman Gladius type weapon commonly illustrated in temple art or a Kasthana as it fits the size of most examples. In the 14th century text “Dambadeni Asna” there is a list of 26 sword types carried in to battle- 10 of these are imported swords from countries including Indian, Javanese, Malay and Chinese. Among others the Short swords are listed as “Luhundu Kadu” and Curved bladed swords as “Wak Kadu”. Kasthana is not listed. -- And thanks again for the amazing gun image.

Also to note that a paper on the possible transitional sword I mentioned earlier is published in the “Ancient Swords, Daggers and knives in the Sri Lankan Museums” book I listed at the beginning of this thread.


Salaams Prasanna Weerakkody ~ Thank you for the post. The difficulty I have is multi-facetted (rather like the problem).

The hilt is Makara. It breathes other deities onto the hilt in the proper manner for a Makara. These deities appear to be either Nagas (serpents/snakes) or smaller Makara and as shown by the little face which appears to be the half human half crocodile on the knuckleguard at Fernandos post at #56, once again, only released by Makara (FROM ITS MOUTH) and as seen coming from the Makara mouth at #57 photo 2; not from a Lions mouth.

The tails of the supporting other creatures appears as peacock designs and falls in line with Makara tail design... and which you agree are small Makara. These Makara deities do not emanate from lions mouths.

The Lion motif, on the other hand, can also be seen in the jaws of a Makara on architectural forms. I believe therefor that the Kastane Hilt is a Makara. Rounded or sharp teeth make no difference. It may be down to artistic impression but the form is The Mythological sea monster; Makara not Lion. See #25,39,52,62 65... etc

I use the example of the gun lock and the earlier axe plus the so far illustrated Kastane Hilts to demonstrate my observations.

It therefor transpires that research into the Kastane Makara hilt must be observed during the build up and possibly before the Portuguese position in the late 17th C.

I agree with the essential theory that there were joint workshops in those areas where Portuguese and Sri Lankan craftsmen were integrated and that in other areas pure Sri Lankan design must have prevailed.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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