Lead Moderator European Armoury
Join Date: Dec 2004
CEILÃO AND THE TAPROBANA
The Island ...
Let me show here, with number # 884, the map titled INSULA ZEILAN OLIM TAPOBRANA NUNE INCOLIS TENARISIM, made in 1676, by Casparus & Lootsman, including various cartouches, five naus (carraks) and the compass rose.
Luis de Camões in his epic Lusiadas (1556) in his first verse, has mentioned the men that passed beyond the Taprobana. The name of this island has been a symbol of mistery, of "the end of the world", a untrespassable wall. Already Ptolomeus (II century AD) has established the Taprobana as "the end of all navigation".
In image #886 we can see a map of Ceilão made by Sebastian Munster (1489-1552) a cosmograph from Bale, contemporary of Camões.
The weapons ...
Among the Cingalese weapons, the so called Pia-Kaeta, according to certain sources, descends from an arm of Indo-European Arian race, of the second millenium BC, which also happened to be used in today's Portuguese territory, the famous Falcata Lusitana. The farthest regions reached by the Arian race were precisely the Lusitânea and Ceilão. As life in the isolation of an island maintains the same standards during long time periods, the use of these falcata type knives was kept until recent centuries. Example #892 has handle with the typical breaking waves, which are also found in Cingalo-Portuguese sculptures, as shown in the ivory baby Jesus (XVI-XVII century), image #899.
Example #893 should be regarded as a 1500's specimen, with its 46 cms length (incl. scabbard), the grip in style of XVI century Portuguese processional crosses; a ritual weapon illustrating Luso-Cingalese history.
Also interesting is the XVI-XVII century ivory lace bilro shown in image #897, a craft introduced in Ceilão by Portuguese, contrary to the concept that this fashion was implemented there by the British.