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Old 17th December 2012, 06:39 AM   #140
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Originally Posted by Prasanna Weerakkody
Been pursuing a more sound foundation for the origin of the name Kasthana based on a term used in old Sinhala; that may provide a far more solid basis than any that had been pursued so far and rule out Portuguese origins to the word.

The term “Asthana” has been documented used on many occasions during the 16th and 17th century texts as a “suffix” to refer to princes. (Example: Princes of King Vimaladharmasuriya I- Rajasuriya Asthana, Udumale Asthana, Kumarasinghe Asthana and Vijayapala Asthana in addition it is also used with Dharmapala Asthana, Dev-Rajasinghe Asthana and Jayaweera Asthana etc.)

There are two Sinhala weapons with the suffix “Asthana” -the Kasthana and the Patisthana; both of these weapons differ from the mainstream arms in the prolific ornamentation that accompany them. While the Kasthana was a weapon of honor presented and used by chiefs and warriors who excelled in battle, the Patisthana was a spear used primarily as a palace guard arm. The records indicate presentations of both as honorifics to individuals by the King.

In Sinhala a sword is referred to as a Asi, Asipath, Kaduwa, Kagga or Kaga. hence a “Princely sword” could become a “Kaga-Asthana” > “Ka-asthana” > “Kasthana”, equally spears known as Ati or Pati could become a “Princely spear” by terming “Pati-Asthana” > “Patisthana”

Accordingly I think it is very likely that the Kasthana was so termed with the meaning of “Prince of Swords” or “Royal Sword”

This will confirm the origin of the Kasthana as a purely Sinhala arm and with a far more solid basis for the origin of the name than any that had been discussed previously. and also provide a strong counter to any Portuguese origin claims.

Attaching an image in celebration- A Kandyan chief with a Kasthana Sword

Salaams Weerakkody.

Your painting is recent and not taken from an historic reference dating before the Portuguese involvement.. Am I correct in assuming this?

Without wishing to get into a discussion long and difficult (impossible) about "whats in a word" I would caution that there is little evidence either way. I cannot see much of a tie up with your word association except that it is interesting.

Where I suggest a potential area of research which you may be better placed to identify is in the Martial Arts pre Portuguese weaponry style of swords used. The fact is that we are unable to identify an early enough Kastane (Kasthane) which would prove beyond doubt its earlier position.

The 16/17th century is too late....because;

In 1505 Don Lourenço de Almeida, son of the Portuguese viceroy in India, was sailing off the southwestern coast of Sri Lanka looking for Moorish ships to attack when stormy weather forced his fleet to dock at Galle. The rest as we say is history.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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