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Old 16th February 2014, 02:07 PM   #34
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Default Its Development, Decoration and Symbolism

Salaams all ~ To address the situation regarding Development Decoration and Symbolism I have broken the sword down into;
1. Blade.
2. Quillons.
3. Rain Guard.
4. Cross Guard.
5. Handguard.
6. Pommel.
7. Scabbard and sash.

In dealing with the Blade...(the other 6; I will address in no particular order later)

My previous post outlines at ~ which delivers a fabulous description entitled Ceylon and the Portuguese, 1505-1658 By Paulus Edward Pieris. Where native blades are outlined.

~ The fact appears that these blades were indeed Native. Thus, a follow on to that would entail examining the blade manufacturing situation in Sri Lanka which we know was extensive and specialised earlier and that they had the technology used to harness wind and fire producing very high temperatures required for good quality steel including wootz. Blade manufacturing is extensively noted regionally and touched upon regarding Sri Lanka at by Dr. Ann Feuerbach.

There is a splendid article on Sri Lankan very early manufacture as long ago as 3rd millenium BC...see although the process seems to have faded in the 11th C it would seem likely that some production would have prevailed...

See Also

In the Sri Lankan Royal Court Workshops there were artesans expert in blade making ...see and at where not only is there a description of the various smiths including black smiths and brass artesans but many of the decorative styles used...

It is thus considered plausible that the blades were being made in Sri Lanka prior to the 1505 arrival of the Portuguese invaders.

In attempting to reverse engineer the blades to see where European blades may seem to suggest a likeness and number of variants may be possible though it may only be down to prefererred size for a race of people with a slightly shorter build...(It may be plausible that the Moors of Sri Lanka brought a sword design with quillons etc from Hormuz much earlier and that became copied and adorned)...Were these in fact simply long daggers or were they swords? The former is suggested and coupled with the obvious fact that they were also Badges of Office... A man wearing one would be immediately recognisable as at least a Mudalyar...even in the early 1500s and likely before.

In a note as to "Development" it can be seen that through the three invader periods blades may have changed from curved to straight(occasionally) and with a varied style of blade/point; sharpened on both sides near the tip.. and that the Dutch imported blades and other items with the VOC mark; some struck in Amsterdam with an additional A whilst others in Batavia ... Modern day Jacarta. The Portuguese do not seem to have provided nor struck Kastane blades with blademarks. Neither did the English with the EIC mark.. but did on firearms and bayonets... and other items.

In respect of "Symbolism"/ "Decoration" on blade form there are some with the Piha-Kaetta treatment in that some lavish overspill appears spilling onto the throat seemingly at various stages in the weapons development (on some but not all examples viewed) though as yet not attributed except perhaps in the general trend of a form of floral or peacock tail design.. thus locked into the religious / mythical story of symbolic lore. Not surprising since exquisite Piha-Kaetta daggers were made in the same or related Royal Workshops departments as Kastane according to the reference tittled "craft revival" above..

Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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