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Old 3rd February 2014, 11:19 PM   #1
Jim McDougall
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Default The Sinhalese Kastane: Its Development, Decoration and Symbolism

I have decided to open a thread specifically addressed to the Sinhalese kastane as described in the title, in hopes that we might have focused discussion on the many aspects and sometimes complex aspects of these fascinating Sri Lankan swords and their history .
There is of course a concurrently running thread titled 'Sinhala/Sri Lankan swords', however there has been considerable consternation on that thread becoming overburdened with the notable complexities of the kastane in particular.

Obviously the kastane is one of the most distinctly recognizable of Sri Lankan swords, however it would seem that it requires its own specifically titled thread to address its inherent complexities without disturbing a the other threads apparently broader scope.

Some of the aspects of the well known kastane which have been brought to discussion have been
1. Just how old is the zoomorphically featured hilt, and what creatures are represented on its basic forms. While most references typically list the pommel as having a lionhead , which seems to correspond to the name of the people on this island, as well as the island itself (sinha=lion), Sinhala and Sinhalese....there are apparently some variations of the hilt.

2. There are interesting details in the important example of the kastane which was brought to Japan from the historic Keicho mission sent by Date Masamune and returned in 1620. It would be good to examine objectively the resources and data addressing this sword specifically, as has been done in degree on the other thread noted, but hopefully may be continued here.

3. The kastane appears to have developed from earlier combat weapons into the more regalia oriented court sword form in high embellishment. Hoping to establish some type of chronological line of development.

4. Many kastane of the 18th century seem to be mounted with VOC (Dutch East India Company) blades. Were these mounted to supply Sinhalese warriors? or were these used by Dutch sailors using local hilts and the blades off issued hangers?
We know the British were there as well, but as far as I have known, no blades (except bayonets) were ever marked by the English EIC. What other trade or colonial blades have been found on kastane?

I very much look forward to discussion focused on the kastane here, and to add to the advancing knowledge and understanding we have gained on the forum within other threads and discussions.
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Old 5th February 2014, 05:18 AM   #2
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Default The Mudaliyars.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
I have decided to open a thread specifically addressed to the Sinhalese kastane as described in the title, in hopes that we might have focused discussion on the many aspects and sometimes complex aspects of these fascinating Sri Lankan swords and their history .
There is of course a concurrently running thread titled 'Sinhala/Sri Lankan swords', however there has been considerable consternation on that thread becoming overburdened with the notable complexities of the kastane in particular.

Obviously the kastane is one of the most distinctly recognizable of Sri Lankan swords, however it would seem that it requires its own specifically titled thread to address its inherent complexities without disturbing a the other threads apparently broader scope.

Some of the aspects of the well known kastane which have been brought to discussion have been
1. Just how old is the zoomorphically featured hilt, and what creatures are represented on its basic forms. While most references typically list the pommel as having a lionhead , which seems to correspond to the name of the people on this island, as well as the island itself (sinha=lion), Sinhala and Sinhalese....there are apparently some variations of the hilt.

2. There are interesting details in the important example of the kastane which was brought to Japan from the historic Keicho mission sent by Date Masamune and returned in 1620. It would be good to examine objectively the resources and data addressing this sword specifically, as has been done in degree on the other thread noted, but hopefully may be continued here.

3. The kastane appears to have developed from earlier combat weapons into the more regalia oriented court sword form in high embellishment. Hoping to establish some type of chronological line of development.

4. Many kastane of the 18th century seem to be mounted with VOC (Dutch East India Company) blades. Were these mounted to supply Sinhalese warriors? or were these used by Dutch sailors using local hilts and the blades off issued hangers?
We know the British were there as well, but as far as I have known, no blades (except bayonets) were ever marked by the English EIC. What other trade or colonial blades have been found on kastane?

I very much look forward to discussion focused on the kastane here, and to add to the advancing knowledge and understanding we have gained on the forum within other threads and discussions.



Salaams Jim ~ What a splendid idea to open this thread. You questions are very interesting and echo your final paragraph which I certainly endorse.

I wondered what the best way would be to enter this particular discussion and have decided that people may better get a grasp of the broad time-span by focusing on the three invading countries presence in reverse order i.e. The British, Dutch and Portuguese periods.

One aspect of all three periods is in fact The Kastane ...worn by one particular group of Sri Lankan dignitaries in what was practically a development of the landed gentry..an upper class Caste almost; The Mudalyars. I refer Forum to http://karava.org/other/mudaliyars for in depth detail on the subject and further reading;

Quote''Mudaliyars
Mudaliyar is a South Indian and Tamil name for ‘first’ and a person endowed with wealth. References to the traditional Mudalis of Sri Lanka are to be found in historical literature such as the Rajavaliya, Mukkara Hatana and also Portuguese and Dutch colonial records. In feudal Sri Lanka Mudali was a military title and as such was borne only by the Kshatriya warrior caste. They were royal military officials.

The 18th century Dutch rulers appointed a few migrant Tamil Vellalas as Mudaliyars . The British who succeeded the Dutch appointed large numbers of Mudaliyars from several castes and communities in the 19th century by enlisting natives who were most likely to serve the British masters with utmost loyalty. Most of them eventually formed a caste identity called Govigama and created an interlinked family network. They called themselves Hamus and their homes Walauvas.

This class resembled English country squires, complete with large land grants from the British, residences of unprecedented scale (Referred to by the Tamil word Walauu or Walvoo) and British granted native titles - which their descendants now use as surnames. They had a uniform consisting of a Somana cloth, a long coat with decorative buttons, a sash and a short ceremonial sword called Kasthana (a corruption of 'Katana' a type of Japanese sword blade)"Unquote.

(An interesting last comment but one which is generally not agreed with here.)
************************************************** ******

Here below is a Mudalyars Kastane and a series of men given the tittle..shown wearing the weapon.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 5th February 2014, 08:17 AM   #3
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Salaams all Note to Library;

A vast amount exists pertinent to Royal Workshops at;

http://www.craftrevival.org/Extrali...PageCode=P00014

http://www.craftrevival.org/CraftAr...raftCode=003531


This description below from http://members.tripod.com/~images_of_ceylon/arms.html struck me as pertinent though there are many others and it is important to realize that dragon may mean Gargoyle, Lion, Deity or anything conjured up broadly related...

For another superb example of a described and illustrated blade please see http://www.caravanacollection.com/?...=kasthane-sword not shown here.

Kastana (or Kasthane) http://members.tripod.com/~images_of_ceylon/arms.html

Quote''The national sword of Ceylon. Typically a short curved single-edged watered blade, double-edged at the point. The hilt comprises a knuckle-guard and down-turned quillons, each terminating in a dragon's head with large in-set eyes. The dragon's head is usually decorated throughout with gold or silver panels and the pommel with tongue is formed from a piece of wood or red coral. The dragon's mane trails down the grip and is decorated with silver and gilt repousse floral designs. The entire hilt is often made of silver or gold and even inlaid with jewels. The blade close to the hilt is decorated with floral or thatched designs. The scabbard is made from wood and is covered with embossed and chased silver worked with flowers with leafy borders and richly ornamental.

The swords were intended to serve as badges of rank. Rev. James Cordiner in 1807 wrote that everyone in office wears a sword with a silver hilt and scabbard. These swords were made in the Royal workshops known as the "Rankadu Pattala" or "golden sword workshop" and the quality of the piece always depended on the rank of the wearer."Unquote.

Thus positive evidence supporting the theory about badge of rank status of this weapon coupled with the Mudaliyar detail in the previous post linking back through the 3 separate invading groups. It is however quite tantalizing that pre-Portuguese history continues to beckon since much of the detail in the Kastane is related to early religious design influence.

Was the Kastane a result of joint workshops design with the Portuguese or is it a purely Sri Lankan concept? Perhaps a map of the region showing the area of occupation over which Portugal held sway could form part of the clue.

See below the area controlled by Portugal; Would an invader nation be positioned to negotiate the design of such an iconic sword with only half the territory under its control...and a sword which ostensibly spread to other unconquered Kingdoms from this tenuous hold? Conversely did the design spring solely from Sri Lankan historical influence?

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 5th February 2014, 03:52 PM   #4
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I'm not seeing the word 'Dragon' anywhere in the description given:
http://www.caravanacollection.com/?...=kasthane-sword
This especially fine kasthane has a silver pommel chiseled as a typical simha (lion) head with a prominent crest made up of an entwined liya-pata motif covered in sheet gold. A narrow, pala-peti design is around the mouth and this too has been covered in sheet gold. The gaping mouth has an orange agate or carnelian tongue that projects right out of the mouth and rows of especially sharp and naturalistically-rendered teeth. The snout on each side has a characteristic 'S' scroll. The eyes are large and distinct and comprise pink sapphires in gold mounts and with magnificently scrolled eyebrows. The ears are prominent and in leaf form.
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Old 5th February 2014, 04:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
I'm not seeing the word 'Dragon' anywhere in the description given:
http://www.caravanacollection.com/?...=kasthane-sword
This especially fine kasthane has a silver pommel chiseled as a typical simha (lion) head with a prominent crest made up of an entwined liya-pata motif covered in sheet gold. A narrow, pala-peti design is around the mouth and this too has been covered in sheet gold. The gaping mouth has an orange agate or carnelian tongue that projects right out of the mouth and rows of especially sharp and naturalistically-rendered teeth. The snout on each side has a characteristic 'S' scroll. The eyes are large and distinct and comprise pink sapphires in gold mounts and with magnificently scrolled eyebrows. The ears are prominent and in leaf form.



Salaams Rick No I didn't say that though the wording in my badly constructed sentence could be misleading and I have corrected the mistake thank you..I have placed the web coordinates for the Caravana item as you have written but the one I write at length about is a different quote of which there are lots...for example and by typing into web search Kastane Dragon masses of similar detail is supplied....such as:

From The Victoria and Albert Museum see http://www.vam.ac.uk/users/node/17494

Quote"Sword and sheath (kastane) with a dragon-headed pommel

Steel, chased and embossed gold sheath
Travancore, Kerala, India
19th century
Museum nos. 2573:1,2(IS)

The kastane is the national sword of Sri Lanka. It typically has a short curved single-edged blade, double-edged at the point. The hilt comprises a knuckle-guard and down-turned quillons, each terminating in a dragon's head. The swords were intended to serve as badges of rank; the quality of ornamentation depending on the status of the wearer.

The establishment of European trading contacts with South Asia by the late 16th and early 17th century led to these swords becoming fashionable dress accessories among European gentlemen. A kastane can be seen in an equestrian portrait of Colonel Alexander Popham at Littlecote House in the care of the Royal Armouries Collection.''Unquote

I'm not in the business of issuing edicts on whether this was a cat or a lizard, a lion or a Makara since it could well be down to artistic licence and as you may know some deities morphed through several phases; The Lion even taking on Elephant form and the Makara or other deities vaulting from one design shape or imagined mythical style to another and at best very easily confused with each other. I leave that with the experts!

One part of the design I did like was the humano/crocodile face on the handguard...most peculiar! Perhaps we can address design features as we progress..and many thanks for the question about the dragon.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

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Old 5th February 2014, 08:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
This description struck me as pertinent though there are many others and it is important to realize that dragon may mean Gargoyle, Lion, Deity or anything conjured up broadly related…for another superb example of a described and illustrated blade please see http://www.caravanacollection.com/?...=kasthane-sword

Kastana (or Kasthane)

The national sword of Ceylon. Typically a short curved single-edged watered blade, double-edged at the point. The hilt comprises a knuckle-guard and down-turned quillons, each terminating in a dragon's head with large in-set eyes. The dragon's head is usually decorated throughout with gold or silver panels and the pommel with tongue is formed from a piece of wood or red coral. The dragon's mane trails down the grip and is decorated with silver and gilt repousse floral designs. The entire hilt is often made of silver or gold and even inlaid with jewels. The blade close to the hilt is decorated with floral or thatched designs. The scabbard is made from wood and is covered with embossed and chased silver worked with flowers with leafy borders and richly ornamental.

The swords were intended to serve as badges of rank. Rev. James Cordiner in 1807 wrote that everyone in office wears a sword with a silver hilt and scabbard. These swords were made in the Royal workshops known as the "Rankadu Pattala" or "golden sword workshop" and the quality of the piece always depended on the rank of the wearer.

Well, i can see why Rick might have been confused by your post Ibrahiim. You write "This description struck me as pertinent…." and then end that sentence with a link before quoting from a completely different source which you do not credit. While i do not wish to imply that you were being purposefully deceptive here i do hope you can see how this might seem misleading to some.
It should also seem obvious that simply because one can find numerous references to the kastane hilt as a "dragon" does not in anyway prove that ANY of these hilts were ever intended to be dragons or anything other than a lion. How many times misinformation is repeated on the internet does not in turn make these misinterpreted statements "facts" and they cannot really be used to support any theory that the pommels of kastanes are meant to represent anything other than a lion. Even one of your "dragon" descriptions goes into detail about the mane of the "dragon", not a detail usually ascribed to dragons throughout various cultures. The stylized manes on these creatures should be a clue that these are indeed lions being depicted on these pommels. Certainly there is some "artist license" involved in the depiction of the lion which is proofed out by the variants that we find in existence, but i seriously doubt that court artists would be permitted to change the actual symbolism of the hilt by depicting some completely different creature than what is traditionally designated for the form. I have yet to see a true kastane pommel that cannot clearly be seen to be meant as a stylized lion head.
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Old 5th February 2014, 08:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
Well, i can see why Rick might have been confused by your post Ibrahiim. You write "This description struck me as pertinent…." and then end that sentence with a link before quoting from a completely different source which you do not credit. While i do not wish to imply that you were being purposefully deceptive here i do hope you can see how this might seem misleading to some.
It should also seem obvious that simply because one can find numerous references to the kastane hilt as a "dragon" does not in anyway prove that ANY of these hilts were ever intended to be dragons or anything other than a lion. How many times misinformation is repeated on the internet does not in turn make these misinterpreted statements "facts" and they cannot really be used to support any theory that the pommels of kastanes are meant to represent anything other than a lion. Even one of your "dragon" descriptions goes into detail about the mane of the "dragon", not a detail usually ascribed to dragons throughout various cultures. The stylized manes on these creatures should be a clue that these are indeed lions being depicted on these pommels. Certainly there is some "artist license" involved in the depiction of the lion which is proofed out by the variants that we find in existence, but i seriously doubt that court artists would be permitted to change the actual symbolism of the hilt by depicting some completely different creature than what is traditionally designated for the form. I have yet to see a true kastane pommel that cannot clearly be seen to be meant as a stylized lion head.


Salaams David, Certainly no deception on my behalf. I simply illustrate that learned bodies such as The Victoria and Albert describe the hilt in different ways and it is not my intention to go into why they think a dragon has a mane.. After all you may view the hilt as a lion like shape but many other specialists use a different explanation including prestigious museums etc.

As I also point out I prefer to leave the discussion about Lion or whatever else it may be to the experts unless you know for certain that it is created from a Lion..and when such an interesting side topic exists as yet to be unfurled as we analyse the pre Portuguese period and look into the swords historical and religious influences.

What is also interesting about Ricks quote from Caravana is the part that is missing .. The Bibliography... which mentions a certain king whose Kastane is now in museum in Sri Lanka but which is unclear as to which king?... and that turns out to be the 7th in succession in power; at the same time as the Portuguese early period. http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~lkawgw/gen3000.html King Bhuvanaikabahu the 7th.

I do, however, agree that my sentence structure was open to misinterpretation and I have corrected that mistake and though I had lost the reference I have now checked my notes, discovered the reference and placed the quote correctly using as close a professional structure as I can; I think near enough to the Harvard Referencing system as we need apply.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

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Old 5th February 2014, 09:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Salaams David, Certainly no deception on my behalf. I simply illustrate that learned bodies such as The Victoria and Albert describe the hilt in different ways and it is not my intention to go into why they think a dragon has a mane.. After all you may view the hilt as a lion like shape but many other specialists use a different explanation including prestigious museums etc.

Perhaps you have missed my point Ibrahiim, which was more about the WAY you presented the information than the information itself.
I would be more inclined to view prestigious museums such as the Victoria and Albert as "generalists" rather than "specialists". They are a museum of art and design that houses almost 5 million objects ranging from fashion and David Bowie to gothic art and photojournalism. I don't think that it would be fair to say that they are "specialists" on the kastane simply because they are a well established museum.
I am not sure what "experts" you are referring to that you would rather leave this discussion to, however i would like to point out that the zoomorphic symbolism of the pommel is the very first discussion point Jim brings up in his recap on the past discussions and i have only posted here because YOU yourself have brought the subject up yet again.
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Old 12th February 2014, 06:37 PM   #9
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is it known if any of these can be attributed to specific makers workshops or schools?also anyone care to show examples they own?and if these are derived of simpler undecorated earlier types does anyone know of any?regards napoleon
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Old 12th February 2014, 09:49 PM   #10
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Napoleon, I very much agree! Those out there with examples please post them, we really need to see a range of examples so that we can look more into variations in the pommels and other features.
Very good question on the attribution to certain makers or schools. As far as I have known, these were invariably unsigned and produced by artisans who combined their skills on various elements of the swords.
We know that of course, the larger number of these seem to likely be from the Kandyan workshops. However, a great deal of consideration must be made toward variations of these swords possibly produced in other parts of the island.

I believe the interpretation of the style and form of the creatures, the pommel head in particular, may reflect either sinha (lion) or makara in various instances. It is always interesting seeing descriptions and captions in either auctions, catalogs or references often using the term makara in a rather collective sense where typically the lion head is what is actually depicted .

As far as I can see, the makara has a sort of trunk or projecting snout, where the lion of course does not. Again, it is extremely hard to identify what mythical creatures are represented

Ibrahiim, I believe you are spot on in your view that the variation in interpretation of the creatures may well be due to cultural, ethnic or politically oriented circumstances.

You bring up a very good point on the blades on these kastane. It seems unclear where the early blades came from but as previously mentioned a large number of Dutch VOC blades appear to be mounted in kastanes.
These were typically marked with the VOC blademark and a date, most seem to date in the 18th century (for some reason 1760s seem prevalent).

I don't believe Ive ever seen a Portuguese blade on one of these, nor British for that matter. Naturally these would be hard to identify as the majority of blades of these types were often Solingen produced . As earlier noted the English EIC did not mark sword blades, only firearms.

I do hope we can get some examples posted which can be examined comparatively .

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Old 12th February 2014, 09:54 PM   #11
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i just would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this thread ,as its been a pleasure to read so far,
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Old 12th February 2014, 10:09 PM   #12
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thank you jim for your reply,just a couple of thoughts,i dont know if there is a conection between travancore and candy,but some of the art on the capstones of the temples built by rajaraja cholan seem similar in decoration to the lion hilts on the sword in question ,also i dont know what they are called but there is a species of small dagger with elephant head pommels the trunk of which forms a knucklrbow but below this is a cross guard of far superior workmanship,they are usually cased in a plain brass sheath ,indian im sure, but its the cross guard thats relevant to the discusion, again great topic
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Old 13th February 2014, 05:06 AM   #13
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Thank you Napoleon, those are most interesting observations, and Travancore, along with other kingdoms and regions in South India did of course have connections to Sinhala from ancient times. We are of course considering that Indian art and symbolism is well represented in the creatures on these various kastane hilts.
It is interesting also that the Dutch VOC lost control of Travancore in the war with them (1739-1753).

One of the things we have been considering here is whether the apparent variations of kastane hilt (sinha or makara)are simply interpretive representations or distinctly intended figures that may reflect these hilts being from various parts of Ceylon.

We know that the 'Royal Swords', which were the more sumptuously produced examples of kastane were likely produced in the Royal workshops in Kandy. Regarding your question earlier on whether craftsmen were identified with certain swords, I found this in a reference online (from a New Delhi study, Craft Revival.org) , "...the names of various craftspeople are recorded in 'sannas' (royal edicts/charters) and in various other deeds but cannot be matched or associated with any particular piece of work". While this reference is regarding the craftsmen at the royal workshops collectively it does suggest a larger circumstance.

As for kastanes produced in other areas, it seems unlikely that it would be possible to attribute examples to certain makers or workshops as the hilts were made to hilt trade blades most likely. This brings me to the next question :

Where were blades obtained, and most likely mounted?

We have discussed earlier that one of the most distinctly recognized and identifiable blades often found on kastanes seem to be those marked with the Dutch VOC. These seem to invariably be with a year stamped with that balemark. They appear to be in most cases 18th century hanger type blades and dates are typically 1749; 1757; 1768;1775 but these years noted are from examples sold and from collections in recent years. Suggestions in earlier discussions noting years 1609 (the VOC was formed in 1602) and 1660 so they seem far too early and have generally been viewed as possibly 'talismanic ' numbers (c.f. 1414; 1441).

The Dutch were busily minting their coins for these colonies through the 18th century and it is interesting to see the VOC, dates and sometimes similar features like the four leaf from these coins also appear on sword blades. It seems from examples I have seen of other Dutch swords with VOC on larger arming swords that they are typically without these large dates on the blade, and with the other often seen motif sun, moon etc.
Would this suggest these dated swords were specifically for trade?

In a sale description (Christies, 2000) it is noted that VOC blades were traded to the Sinhalese and mounted locally, often remaining in use until the 20th c. The Dutch colonial period is regarded as 1658-1796 . While the Dutch controlled the maritime provinces, they never occupied Kandy.
After the war with Kandy, 1761-65, the King recognized Dutch sovereignty in the maritime provinces. The Dutch surrendered these to England in 1796.

It would seem that these blades coming into the trade ports, along with other hanger type blades unmarked probably from Solingen and Leige, would have been hilted locally in interpretations of the favored kastane.
We know that kastane like swords have been seen attributed to Southern India, Thailand and other locations.
Is it possible that the makara like hilts might have been produced in port regions in the north of Sri Lanka, Jaffna for example?

The Sinha type hilts perhaps may be more likely attributed to Colombo, Galle, Kotte? and again interpretations of the more classical swords of Kandy.

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Old 14th February 2014, 06:13 PM   #14
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As I have continued researching, and having posted a concurrent thread in hopes of more information on the VOC blades, there are a number of ideas which come to mind regarding the disposition of these varying examples of the kastane.

I can recall over years reading of the renowned production of fine steel in Ceylon in which the wind fueled smelters date into ancient times. I always wondered why more Sinhalese blades were not known, did they not have bladesmiths to forge blades? Apparantly there were in Kandy, according t the records of the Royal Workshops.
It seems that the kastane produced in these workshops were relatively small in number, to the variations which in so many cases were mounted with Dutch VOC blades. It would seem perhaps that these blades coming into the ports controlled by the Dutch may well account for local production in those cities, and these blades naturally would not have been considered in the Royal Workshops for obvious reasons.

While the Hasekura example is considered in our discussion very much contextually as a provenanced example of the lionhead form hilt, the Popham example serves as an interesting example of the influences of these hilts in foreign settings. It seems that by the middle of the 17th century the lionhead hilt of the kastane had profound influence on the hilts of many Dutch cutlasses and hangers. There are apparently substantial numbers of versions of these lionheads as well as the fingerstalls and general look of the kastane known.
By around the end of the century numbers of these kinds of hilts were being adopted by the English on their cutlasses and hangers, with the interest in these forms already established in the prototype occurrence with Popham.

These beasthead pommels were termed doghead or lionhead apparently, and of course show interesting variation in form, though essentially of 'kastane' form.

It would seem, to elaborate further on what has already been suggested, that perhaps the port cities, and local armourers there, may account for the apparent sundry versions of the kastane and varying interpretation of the decoration. While these often have equally varying blade forms of the same cutlass or hanger type, it would seem that many were either Solingen or Liege products. As noted, by around the 1730s it appears that the VOC blades begin to be seen with the boldly emblazoned dates, and these last until 1770s .

The VOC was of course a private company, not military, and perhaps the popularity of these exotic lionhead hangers and cutlasses eventually led to these men seeking these kinds of hilts on their issued swords. It is tempting to consider this scenario along with the circumstances of trade blades being in place as well. It is of course known that in many colonial situations, there are cottage industries of local artisans supplying soldiers and colonists with these kinds of exotica .
Naturally the high end kastane which would have remained in the perview of the Royal Workshops and in Kandyan regions would have remained true to form and without trade or issue blades.

Meanwhile, the locally produced versions of kastane in the port cities in the Sinhalese littoral would possibly have reflected other ethnic or demographic variation in degree in their interpretations, and accordingly been mounted with these trade or issue blades .

I hope to hear the views of others toward these thoughts as always, and look forward to continuing these discussions with these perspectives in mind and their plausibility.
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Old 20th February 2014, 07:38 PM   #15
Maurice
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Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Some of the aspects of the well known kastane which have been brought to discussion have been
1. Just how old is the zoomorphically featured hilt, and what creatures are represented on its basic forms. While most references typically list the pommel as having a lionhead , which seems to correspond to the name of the people on this island, as well as the island itself (sinha=lion), Sinhala and Sinhalese....there are apparently some variations of the hilt.


Hi Jim,

This is way out of my field, but looking for something relevant in the other VOC blades thread, I found two very interesting kastanes.
Most of you probably know of them, but in case not I will add the pictures.

They were captured with a piha kaetta and a canon in 1765 by the Dutch, at the conquest of the Kandy's king palace.

PS. I've also added an image of the canon and the piha kaetta.
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