EAA Research Consultant
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Napoleon, I very much agree! Those out there with examples please post them, we really need to see a range of examples so that we can look more into variations in the pommels and other features.
Very good question on the attribution to certain makers or schools. As far as I have known, these were invariably unsigned and produced by artisans who combined their skills on various elements of the swords.
We know that of course, the larger number of these seem to likely be from the Kandyan workshops. However, a great deal of consideration must be made toward variations of these swords possibly produced in other parts of the island.
I believe the interpretation of the style and form of the creatures, the pommel head in particular, may reflect either sinha (lion) or makara in various instances. It is always interesting seeing descriptions and captions in either auctions, catalogs or references often using the term makara in a rather collective sense where typically the lion head is what is actually depicted .
As far as I can see, the makara has a sort of trunk or projecting snout, where the lion of course does not. Again, it is extremely hard to identify what mythical creatures are represented
Ibrahiim, I believe you are spot on in your view that the variation in interpretation of the creatures may well be due to cultural, ethnic or politically oriented circumstances.
You bring up a very good point on the blades on these kastane. It seems unclear where the early blades came from but as previously mentioned a large number of Dutch VOC blades appear to be mounted in kastanes.
These were typically marked with the VOC blademark and a date, most seem to date in the 18th century (for some reason 1760s seem prevalent).
I don't believe Ive ever seen a Portuguese blade on one of these, nor British for that matter. Naturally these would be hard to identify as the majority of blades of these types were often Solingen produced . As earlier noted the English EIC did not mark sword blades, only firearms.
I do hope we can get some examples posted which can be examined comparatively .