EAA Research Consultant
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
I think that it is well established that the kasthane in the regularly seen embellished form is pretty much a parade type arm worn as a badge of rank or office. As discussed, the elements seen in the hilt are vestigial features from earlier hilts in which the quillon and guard system had intended purposes for combative use. These were primarily the basic features of the hilts which developed in Italy in later fully developed rapier forms, and later found their way into nimcha style hilts . Variations of these same hilt arrangements are known throughout Europe as well as through the Arab trade world.
The various creatures represented on the elements of the hilt have symbolic and some apotropaic purpose of course. It is important to recognize these weapons and these symbolic features in that they serve more votive purpose than any actual combative intent.
The Tibetan axes as well of course as the phurbu daggers are entirely spiritual weapons with no worldly combative value . In India many swords are considered 'temple' swords, such as the unusual flamboyant blade Nayar examples. While these are in some degree regarded as being based on actual combat weapons of earlier times, in actuality the sometimes dramatic features are intended in more spiritually embellished sense than for an actual purpose.
The downward triangular protrusion on the kasthane would be more associated with langets which are essentially for scabbarding the weapon, but also provides useful area for additional embellishment and decoration.