EAA Research Consultant
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
As previously discussed and noted by Ibrahiim, the high quality steel from the monsoon powered furnaces smelted in Ceylon and exported widely was well known into ancient times. It would be hard to fathom there not being superb swordsmiths there were produce the kinds of blades required for edged weapons including the kasthane. I am under the impression these would have been primarily in the Kandyan Royal workshops.
As also noted and in accord with Deraniyagala, the early kasthane blades must have been inspired by early Moorish sabres and probably produced there. Clearly the port cities on the Sinhalese littoral controlled first by Portuguese then Dutch and ultimately British would have provided trade or acquisition blades for local hiltings in those locations.
In my view the Portuguese blades, well known in many of their colonial spheres, especially in India , were typically of rapier and heavier arming swords and not suitable of course for these small sabres. I am unclear on whatever cutlasses or the like they may have used however.
By the time the Dutch VOC blades begin appearing in the 18th century, it would appear other trade blades may have already been coming in via trade networks and perhaps Solingen produced. Initially I thought the VOC blades may have been intended for import, but their occurrence on numbers of regulation type military hilts suggests otherwise. Though these may have been for remounts on regulation swords as required, many may have been traded to local merchants and artisans. Also as previously suggested, perhaps VOC individuals may have had local hilts put on their issued blades .
In the concurrent thread on VOC blades we have had magnificent support from so many members here who have remarkable knowledge of these regions, and giving us amazing perspective on this complex trade context.
Fernando, excellent perspective on the mudeliars! Thank you!
It seems the more of this data I read, the more I realize how little real understanding I have had of it all. Its great to have these kind of well explained details at hand.