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Old 5th April 2014, 01:58 AM   #137
Prasanna Weerakkody
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Sri Lanka
Posts: 49

one of the images included by Ibrahiim in the collection of Ivory caskets is of particular interest and relevance in a different way to the topic in question- I quote from - “A catalogue of Antiquities and other cultural objects from Sri Lanka (Ceylon) Abroad” - De Silva P.H.D.H.- Ivory casket no 1241 presently at Schatzkammer Der Residenz, Munich.

“In 1506 the Portuguese occupied Ceylon (“Sinhala Dvipa”) ; the island was then ruled by several kings, dominated by an Emperor. According to W. Sloman, Emperor Buwaneka Bahu (1521-51) did not want his brother Mayadunne but his grandson Dharmapala to become his successor. To receive the support of his fief master, the Portuguese King, for this plan, Buwaneka bahu sent in 1542 a delegation to Lisbon. There exists two descriptions about the delegation… According to one report (appr 1630) The delegate delivered two ivory statues, representing the emperor and the prince proposed for the succession to the throne; according to the other report (appr. 1687) the gifts presented to the Portuguese court consisted of a crown set with gems and a statue of massive gold representing Dharmapala (then about three years old) in natural height. after the fief -oath in effigy had been taken on behalf of this prince, Don Juan III of Portugal crowned the statue as a sign of acknowledgement of the succession to the throne”

The Ivory casket illustrates the events in detail from the coronation of King Buwaneka bahu to birth of the prince Dharmapala (Dom Juan) to the bringing of the effigy of the prince to Portugal and the crowning of the statue by King of Portugal.

The importance of this casket to the forum is in the depiction of many Sinhala arms including swords in a datable context at the time of the Portuguese wars and also coinciding or slightly predating with the time of the advent of the Kasthana as we know currently. yet no Kasthana swords can be observed in the collection depicted. even the royal sword used by King Buwanekabahu in his coronation seem to be a double edged blade of the common gladius type weapon of the time but longer. But it must be noted that the earliest specifically datable Kasthana swords are linked to the Mulleriyawela battle in 1559.

The images are of poor quality- may I make a general appeal if any forum member in that part of the world is able to get access to the specimen that we may be able to get some better photographs of the Item.


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