View Single Post
Old 9th December 2012, 02:53 PM   #130
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
Default Tilting at Palm Trees.

Originally Posted by fernando
Olá Ibrahiim,
How soon your next post will be?

Salaams fernando and all ~ My reference (as well as the Forum library) is Indian Art by Roy C Craven ~ World of Art Series~ Thames and Hudson. ISBN 0-500-20146-3.

The time line is vast; Hinduism is more than 4000 years old whilst Buddhism started inbetween 566 and 486 BC. The arrival of the Portuguese and their influence upon Sri Lanka started in the 1500s. Therefor there is a quantum jump between the vast timescales but that is what makes this so interesting a roller coaster.

On page 29 of Reference Professor Craven points out that the Aryans in 1500 BC had settled in Northern India and thus began the culture amalgamation of the Vedic style with that of the vanquished dark skinned Dravidians. After gradually intermarrying and consolidation the Aryans spread South Eastwards from their initial conquests of the Indus Valley and the Punjab taking the Ganges and Jumna rivers plains ~ an area called the Doab....

They brought with them a concept of religion based on sacrifice to Deities which mirrored the forces of nature. Their social structure emanating from their religion was essentially heirarcical and is better known now as the caste system. The word itself (caste) comes from the Portuguese word castas but was first used in the 16th Century. The Aryans actually used a different word Varna; meaning colour.

I intend to show that the word for Caste "Castas" was the word root which inspired the term Castane but first a word on the Sri Lankan Caste System~

Whereas the Indian system was quite brutal the Sri Lankan version was not. It was mild by comparison but one thing is obvious in tracing the craftsmen of the island and their sects or castes which were quite strict; Goldsmiths, silversmiths swordsmiths, precious stone polishers, diamond cutters, rhino hilt makers, coppersmiths, engravers, furnace operators, bladesmiths, scabbard decorators, leatherworkers, woodworkers and labourers all belonged to different Castes and as such can be thought of as Guilds..

More than a dozen Castes were employed to make the Castane and I believe it is this that drew the name Castas as the original Portuguese word for this sword. In honour of the many guilds(Castes) of crafsmen employed in its making.

180 Degree Turn ! If this is in fact the case my entire hypothesis of the Castane being a purebred Sri Lankan sword pre the Portuguese appearance flies out the window now.

The problems with the pre Portuguese idea are:

1. No Castane, pre-Portuguese, exists in any museum or on any drawing, painting or sculpture in any medium; wood, metal or stone in itself very strange since stone freize panels depict so much historical content and an important sword like that would be sure to be included.

2. No Castane existed under that name before the Portuguese influence since it was a word given by them to the Sri Lankans.

3. It would be highly unlikely that a respected Buddhist sword would be re named by an incoming invader, raider, occupier especially one with an entirely different religious structure. A renamed sword of that style would surely be recorded but there is no trace.

I now conclude that the real reason is because pre the Portuguese period no such sword existed in Sri Lanka...we have been chasing shadows.

My second but fresh hypothesis thus reads ~

The Castane, named so by the Portuguese, was introduced designed and built with Portuguese collaboration in Royal workshops in Sri Lanka in the late 1500/early1600s... and variously afterwards for many centuries. The Portuguese part of the design may have introduced the basic hilt shape and cutlass fashion popular in Mediterranean forms whilst the main theme came from the Sri Lankan design taken from Buddhist structures in history encompassing Makara, supporting Deities and Buddhist ritual-item related Quillons (as at #115).

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