Originally Posted by Prasanna Weerakkody
... Fernando I have always found your posts interesting and inspiring as it provided a counter/ more Portuguese oriented perspective to how I experience things down here. Your sources and material presented are just great. I think it is clear that the kasthane origin is Sinhala. but there are many un-answered questions remain and it is also clear that it did draw inspiration from many foreign sources as well. one of the questions that I am intrigued by is that the changeover of the Sinhala fighters from the dominance of double edged long swords of the previous era- that seem quite similar to the arms of the Portuguese roughly at the time of their arrival and shifting to the Kasthana. The Portuguese is possibly the first enemy the Sinhala armies face off that used heavy armor- cuirasses etc at that scale. many other weapons show adaptations to items that are better suited to armor piercing purposes at the time but Kasthana travels a different path in retaining a slashing blade. why? (keeping in mind that Kasthana may not have been a primary weapon of the soldiery of the field (Calachurro example?)). Also I just noted that brass blades are common among modern replica’s but it in no way necessitates that the image you presented is modern. Please let know the date of publication you extracted the swords from. If you look at the proper battle kasthana and the later purely ceremonial ones one of the most noted differences is the way the blade attaches to the hilt (like in the images provided), it will be very interesting to see how far back this type of construction can be set to ...
Thank you for your complacency, Prasanna
I didn't dare familiarizing the Kasthana with the Calachurro, although it crossed my mind; but these inferrments are waters too deep for me to navigate
I have tried again to get the semanthics of Kasthana in the same glossary where the term Calachurro is contemplated. The author, Monsignor Sebastião Rodolfo Dalgado (Assagaum, Bardez, Goa 1855 - Lisbon 1922) is completely above suspicion, from the heigths of his knowledge of Devanagari, Latin, Concani, Lecturer in Sanscrit, Doctor in letters, author of a study of Portuguese influence in Indian subcontinent languages and other.
I was not surprised in not finding the term in the letter K
, as such letter is not used in the portuguese alphabet. Then i tried the letter C
(for Castane or similar) and still i found nothing, apart from the term Catana, derived from the well known Katana, which has a dozen quotations from the various chroniclars, but no one linking it to Sinhalese Kasthana, a possibility suggested by some. It is for me a great mistery that the Kasthana is not mentioned in this glossary ... unless the Portuguese gave it a name with a different composition.
I have phoned Mr. Daehnhardt, the book author and collector who owns the the brass blade Kasthana, besides several others, some of them highly valuable examples. I asked him to place an age on the example in the book and he answered, not mentioning that specific one but, brass blades in general, which certainly were from the 19th century ... even from the 20th. Talking about these swords in general he is of the opinion that the Kasthana dates from medieval times ( 4th, 6th, 7th century); ands he reiterates that it only achieved the lower curved (pseudo) quillons after association with the Portuguese ... whatever this statement is worth (my remark).