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Old 26th October 2012, 09:12 AM   #13
Prasanna Weerakkody
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Sri Lanka
Posts: 49

Balooshi -All images I presented (posts 76 and 78)on the Lion and Makara figures are for one purpose- to illustrate
1. Not only Makara figures are portrayed with figures emanating from their mouths.
2. In a SINHALA CONTEXT most Makara figures do emanate foliage (all images included) and is not limited to beasts.
Also I don’t think you can assess the elements purely on regional references. As with the difference in Swords; the Sinhala Motifs have its own sub culture distinct from the regional/ Indian system. All assumptions must be based on this.

Strangely it seems you are UNABLE to see the differences that define the “species” of beast heads that figure on the Kasthana swords. Please check definition in my post #23. for a definition which expands on format given by Ananda Kumaraswami. Your assumption “The Hilt, The KnuckleGuard, The Quillons and The Cross Guard are of one linked style” and your “advise against separating the pommel decoration from the rest of the Hilt” are in Error.

There are three common types of beasts portrayed on them. The only figure that emanates a secondary figure consistently on the Kasthana is the figure that appears at the base of the Knuckle guard. which is almost always a Makara. the figure on the opposite terminus of the cross guard also on occasion extrude a short floral extension. On some instances the terminal figure of the Knuckle guard is portrayed emanating either floral or animal forms. This figure is either of a Serapendiya or Makara design. The Quillons too can be either Serapendiya or Makara. on occasion the figures on the cross guards also consist of Serapendiya heads. It is also important to note that the Serapendiya is also figured with forms appearing from its mouth which seem not to be limited to the Makara. The Lion only appears on the pommel of the hilt and is not proper on any other part except in some weak later period swords that do not follow tradition properly. I cannot recollect seeing any Kasthana with the pommel Lion figure emanating anything from its mouth except for a simple extended tongue (consistent with lion figure in other Sinhala art forms)

Image of a possible deity on a Kasthana occurs infrequently on the outer surface of the Knuckle guard which is still not identified with certainty as yet. Godesses Sri Devi and Patthini are the most likely candidates though it may be just a figure of “Nari-latha” or a figure of a Half woman half plant form. (This is possibly a matter for a separate thread of discussion) There are no cultural elements defined as Nagas in a Sinhala context that can be associated with motifs on the Kasthana. In rare occasions figures of similar deities may be found in the ricasso as well.

Note on images in post #56
The top Kasthana originating from a latter period workshop is highly influenced by British or late Dutch (?) design. it seem to not have too much Sinhala cultural discipline. The pommel figure still carries three ruffs signifying it is a Lion head. The other figures are strange as the faces are modeled as lion heads (similar to most late period degenerate Makara forms) but without the ruffs… they do not show the distinct short proboscis that make a Makara a true Makara.

The lower figure of a Kasthana from an earlier period; for me is my period of interest in Kasthana where the source of its origin, design and real function lie. Here the pommel figure is again clearly a lion of the early period design (not of European influence) with the distinct three ruffs. The terminal figure on the extended knuckle guard is a Serapendiya while the other four figures at the base of the hilt are all Makara.

Always a pleasure to see your interesting posts. -thank you for sharing. In surviving traditional form there is a type of knuckle duster known as “Kala-kiringne” (I am not sure how to spell this proper; it’s a very nasal pronunciation akin to some other words with links to Portuguese descent”) The indirect association of “Kala” with death is sound- as found in “kala-thuwakku” (Cannon), “Kalama” (curses used in war) and “Kala-kiringne”etc.. Kirichchi as you say is a short stabbing dagger similar to a Kris. There is also another short dagger with a two finger grip which is sometimes attributed to Kala-kirichchi as well. I was not confident of its link to a short sword.
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