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Old 11th January 2014, 08:53 AM   #151
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Default The Makara Hilt; Six Reasons why it is not a Lion Design.

Salaams All .. Note to Library~

In this epic thread I have shown factors important in the understanding of Earlier the Kastane Hilt design viz;

* Ancient Myth and superstition surrounding the Makara sea monster form.
* Adoption/inclusion of the Makara mythical device in both Hindu and Buddhist beliefs.
* Architectural reflection of Makara form in monumental doorways and waterspouts etc
* Makara designs on traditional jewelery epitomize the snake or serpent like form...not that of the big cat.
* Regional Makara mirroring/style transition on weapon hilts spread pan Indian Ocean and beyond...
* Recent historical evidence on this thread pointing to cohesion between the Portuguese and Sri Lankan rulers in design through Royal Court workshops in reflecting this cultural and traditional Makara iconic shaped Hilt.

I therefor submit that the Kastane Hilt is Makara inspired.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 12th January 2014 at 08:43 AM.
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Old 12th January 2014, 10:00 AM   #152
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Salaams All ~ An example of Makara on Indian weapons and Tibetan chopping devices...

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.



Dear Ibrahiim,

Please review the images you presented the forum more closely.

Some of these creatures in the images you present go by other names such as Leogryph, Yali or Sardula which have a Lion or Leo like face....the mane is hard to miss too.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yali_(Hindu_mythology)


There is a relationship between the Leogryph and the Makara as noted with the link and also seen in item 04.1.116 from the National musuem of Afghanistan.

I can sometimes see a Makara face on some quillon ends but very rarely the pommel of a Kastane...the presence of a trunk on a Makara should be key to correct identification, not a beak, a floral motif or an upturned lip some times seen on the Leogryph/Yali or Sardula and they should not be mistaken for a Makara.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makara_(Hindu_mythology)

https://www.google.com.au/search?q=...iw=1280&bih=622

Gavin

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Old 13th January 2014, 07:45 AM   #153
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SwordsAntiqueWeapons
Dear Ibrahiim,

Please review the images you presented the forum more closely.

Some of these creatures in the images you present go by other names such as Leogryph, Yali or Sardula which have a Lion or Leo like face....the mane is hard to miss too.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yali_(Hindu_mythology)


There is a relationship between the Leogryph and the Makara as noted with the link and also seen in item 04.1.116 from the National musuem of Afghanistan.

I can sometimes see a Makara face on some quillon ends but very rarely the pommel of a Kastane...the presence of a trunk on a Makara should be key to correct identification, not a beak, a floral motif or an upturned lip some times seen on the Leogryph/Yali or Sardula and they should not be mistaken for a Makara.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makara_(Hindu_mythology)

https://www.google.com.au/search?q=...iw=1280&bih=622

Gavin


Salaams SwordsAntiqueWeapons ~ I cannot recall any beaked Makara on any of my posts. They all have teeth. The trunks cannot be relied upon as often they are turned back over the head and shortened sometimes totally obscured or occasionally missing altogether. Where auxiliary deities appear they could be either miniature Makara and or Nagas ..secondary deities forming the design on the hand guard and cross guard. Another deity ... that of the humano/crocodile form can sometimes be found in the handguard as a human face..see #56. More deities form the endings to the Tibetan style Vagras on the false quillons...probably more Nagas. Did Lions spew deities...? No.


I have looked again and confirm my previous posts..I have considered the other deities you mention ie Leogryph, Yali or Sardula. Yali /Sardula looks like a soft faced horse..similar to a walrus face without tusks.. Leogryph don't spill/ spew monsters all over the place like Makara. Its what Makara do. Its what goes on all over the hilt of the Kastane..because the main handle is comprised the Makara.

Perhaps its not easy, this recognition of Makara, not least because even in the minds of believers they (Makara) slide through several different phases changing slightly as they morph. It should be noted however that in the Karava dynasty they were very much in play as serpent derivatives and it is this form that was (I argue) construed by the makers of this sword; The Portuguese and Karava Royal Sword workshops.

Even if I place in the margin the other countries in which Makara appear culturally including (Burma, Cambodia,China,India,Indonesia,Laos,Malaysia,Nepal ,Thailand,Vietnem Java)...but focus in on Sri Lanka specifically; I stand firmly behind this hypothesis (It's a Makara not a Lion)viz;

Makara (Sinhala Mythology)
'Makara' is the Sinhala term for dragon, an important figure in Sinhala Buddhist culture in Sri Lanka. Thus to prove it I have lined up many Sri Lankan Buddhist related links.
viz;

History
Since ancient time, easterners believe thet Makara is one of watery creatures and even from the pre-era of the field of Buddhist art, Makara has been depicted both in work of literature and stone carvings. Makara gained a distinctive position in the Sinhala Buddhist culture - a special place not given in Buddhist artwork in other countries. It is for that reason that we should not be surprised by the addition of the Makara spewing other religious deities, Nagas etc but we should note that Lion motifs do not do that.

In Sinhalese ancient artwork Makara has been an invented creature; it is made up of body parts of six or seven animals such as the trunk of the elephant, jaws of the crocodile, ears of the mouse or ape, extruding teeth of wild swine, the tail plume of the peacock and feet of the lion. The plume of the Peacock is often seen on the rain-guard and or flowing down the throat of the Kastane blade. It is not associated with the Lion.

Artistic Work
It is obvious that the Sinhala artists attributed a special symbolic meaning to Makara by adding the picture of Makara around the said stone carving. In addition to that, the Sinhala artists have given more opportunities for Makara to enter into the art world.

Dragon balustrade
Dragon Balustrade at the entrance to Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura, Sir Lanka. The dragon balustrade is another kind of stone carvings which portray the Makara (dragon). These artworks used to decorate the entrance of Buddhist stupas, temples and Bo trees. There are two balustrades at the main entrance of Lankathilaka Viharaya in Kandy and they are sometimes called Gajasinha balustrades (ගඡසිංහ කොරවක් ගල්) because of the shape of the Makara there.

Guard stones
The guard-stone (මුරගල) has given a highest place to Makara. Over the head of the gatekeeper carved in there, the figures of Makara can be seen.

Pandol.
Makara pandol over the image of Lord Buddha in Dambulla cave temple. Doing what? Providing other deities to flank the main subject.

Sinhala-buddhist artists considered Makara as the symbol of prosperity and self-sufficiency so they were not hesitant in portraying the sign of Makara in the entrance arch gateway to the religious places, such as temples, stupa or bodi. Precious examples for the above are Temple of the Tooth and Lankatilaka Temple in Kandy. Examples for the arched gateway with Makara over the image of Lord Buddha can be seen in Ridi Viharaya and Dambulla cave temple.

Other Artefacts. A figure of Makara has been carved to the handle of a temple key of Gadaladeniya Temple built in 1344 in Diggala in the Kandy District.


Flags
Since long ago as of 1668, people in Karava (කෞරව) cast in Sri Lanka use a flag with the symbol of Makara which is called the Makara flag in their ceremonies. Not the Lion Flag !



The Pictures show;

# The Makara Jewelery style; a reflection in the design of the Kastane hilt from the Makara.

# The gold bangle is clearly of Makara form and the other bangle with coloured stones, rubies etc is noted as a Makara bangle by The Met Museum.

# The two brown coloured pictures of the odd Horse deity (Yali or Sardula) with the soft walrus like face which is not like the Makara.

# The picture of the Karava flag with Makara and Horseman ~ mirrored in the jewellery.

# Kastane illustrating the Makara Hilt spewing other deities onto the hand-guard and cross guard which includes Nagas.

# The peculiar chopping axe (Tibetan Vagra) giving rise to the strange quillon like devices on the Kastane.. proving a religious link.

# Finally the peacock tail typical of the Makara, in addition, proves; The Makara Hilt.[B]

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 13th January 2014, 11:43 AM   #154
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Dear Ibrahiim,

Thank you for your post on the cross cultural aspects of the Makara.

Back to the large creature on the pommel of the Kastane. Please look closer to this link already provided and look at all the images again.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yali_(Hindu_mythology)

You have only chose to provide one image of the Yali in your latest, a known example with a trunk.
Read also the notes within the link, Quote; "Other common examples are: the lion-headed (simha-vyala)" Unquote....these are the numerous images I refer to.

Taking these lion-headed (simha-vyala) Yali or Leogryphs in mind, the ones with the exacting manes, teeth and general appearance of the Kastane pommel, there is much more visual evidence at hand that supports this creature, the Yali or Leogryph as being on the pommel, far more than the icons of the Makara as the imagery is so very different and nothing spews forth from the mouth of the Kastane pommel.
Furthermore, using the notion that is it known that the Makara spew forth the Yali of Leogrypgh as communicated about a well known museum icon supported by yourself
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Leogryph don't spill/ spew monsters all over the place like Makara. Its what Makara do. Its what goes on all over the hilt of the Kastane..because the main handle is comprised the Makara.
Look close at one aspect of the latest knuckle bow you have just presented, there is a Makara spewing forth the knuckle bow...what is at the end of the knuckle bow, a near exact face as that on the pommel...the Yali or Leogryph.

Gavin
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Old 13th January 2014, 01:03 PM   #155
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SwordsAntiqueWeapons
Dear Ibrahiim,

Thank you for your post on the cross cultural aspects of the Makara.

Back to the large creature on the pommel of the Kastane. Please look closer to this link already provided and look at all the images again.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yali_(Hindu_mythology)

You have only chose to provide one image of the Yali in your latest, a known example with a trunk.
Read also the notes within the link, Quote; "Other common examples are: the lion-headed (simha-vyala)" Unquote....these are the numerous images I refer to.

Taking these lion-headed (simha-vyala) Yali or Leogryphs in mind, the ones with the exacting manes, teeth and general appearance of the Kastane pommel, there is much more visual evidence at hand that supports this creature, the Yali or Leogryph as being on the pommel, far more than the icons of the Makara as the imagery is so very different and nothing spews forth from the mouth of the Kastane pommel.
Furthermore, using the notion that is it known that the Makara spew forth the Yali of Leogrypgh as communicated about a well known museum icon supported by yourself Look close at one aspect of the latest knuckle bow you have just presented, there is a Makara spewing forth the knuckle bow...what is at the end of the knuckle bow, a near exact face as that on the pommel...the Yali or Leogryph.

Gavin



Salaams Do you mean that the Kastane hilt design is a Yali or a Leogryph in your view? That would fly in the face of the very detailed hypothesis and Buddhist facts as laid down above. Leogryphs don't look like Makara in that they do not have peacock tails..dont emit supporting deities thus are not even vaguelly related to Makara which are sea monsters. The Makara are sea monsters but I assume the Leogryph went about its business in the jungle...it having the face of a large cat...and the legs and tail of a lion.... and didnt throw up quantities of minor deities... The Makara did.

However to clear up the difference between Yali and Leogryph see http://cities.sulekha.com/worldwide/351329/review.htm and I will put pictures below.. to distinguish the main elements from Makara;..Both the Yali and Leogryph have cat like faces and tails of lion..(The Makara has a tail of Peacock). Neither cat like Deities casts quantities of Naga about the place as it is not their job in life...Yali and Leogryph are closely related and appear to be lion/tiger mixtures. Apologies to Buddhist followers for any inaccuracies and no flippancy intended.
Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 13th January 2014, 01:47 PM   #156
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Dear Ibrahiim,

Yes I do mean the Kastane pommel and grip is that of Lion's face...whether in the Yali lion-headed (simha-vyala), LEO(lion)gryph or just plain lion it is unknown...it is not Makara.

The Kastane pommel spits nothing from its mouth...why is it in your eyes a Makara when nothing spits from its mouth despite you claiming it does? The quillons and knuckle bows do not spew forth from the Pommel's mouth.

The Kastane pommel is to my eye more the Sardula or the Yali Simha-Vyala, a more lion like creature but when there is a Makara spewing forth a knuckle bow with another head the same as the pommel, the Leogryph comes to mind based on the ancient ivory carvings in the Afghanistan museum that show the Leogryph coming forth from a Makara's mouth.

The Lion in most important in Hindu cutlure from top to bottom of the land. While I will not weigh dieties against dieties for importance, the pommel is of Lion type, the Lion being highly regarded througout time within these lands..

Here is a very good representation of a Hindu Lion guardian from Nepal;
http://stockfresh.com/image/566878/...e-guardian-lion
I am sure you can see such a likeness that it is uncanny.

If you think the lion is of little relevence, please read this;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigiriya

Gavin
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Old 13th January 2014, 02:42 PM   #157
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SwordsAntiqueWeapons
Dear Ibrahiim,

Yes I do mean the Kastane pommel and grip is that of Lion's face...whether in the Yali lion-headed (simha-vyala), LEO(lion)gryph or just plain lion it is unknown...it is not Makara.

The Kastane pommel spits nothing from its mouth...why is it in your eyes a Makara when nothing spits from its mouth despite you claiming it does? The quillons and knuckle bows do not spew forth from the Pommel's mouth.

The Kastane pommel is to my eye more the Sardula or the Yali Simha-Vyala, a more lion like creature but when there is a Makara spewing forth a knuckle bow with another head the same as the pommel, the Leogryph comes to mind based on the ancient ivory carvings in the Afghanistan museum that show the Leogryph coming forth from a Makara's mouth.

The Lion in most important in Hindu cutlure from top to bottom of the land. While I will not weigh dieties against dieties for importance, the pommel is of Lion type, the Lion being highly regarded througout time within these lands..

Here is a very good representation of a Hindu Lion guardian from Nepal;
http://stockfresh.com/image/566878/...e-guardian-lion
I am sure you can see such a likeness that it is uncanny.

If you think the lion is of little relevence, please read this;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigiriya

Gavin



Salaams SwordsAntiqueWeapons;

At your first reference You are right in considering (as I have done) the lions in Nepal which if you look carefully you will see that they do not have peacock tails nor do they emit deities all around. I have included a further picture which shows the tails of these beasts which are entirely of a different traditional icon... The Lion. Not the Makara. Note the tails!

At your second reference there is a small note ONLY viz; Quote "There was a sculpted lion's head above the legs and paws flanking the entrance, but the head broke down many years ago" Unquote. Lions Gate though relatively important to Sinhalese culture in no way overshadows the vital detail of the Makara... They are entirely different issues.

The business of deciding if the Kastane has a Makara or Lion hilt is vital in the understanding of its origins..and I have a duty to prove the truth irrespective of spurious counter claims from whatever quarter. It is a well known fact that dealers in Kastane rather than grasp the nettle over this conundrum of Makara versus Lion prefer to "sit on the fence" in their description and would rather put Makara or Lion ..When in fact it is a purely Makara deity.

The history books, traditional, cultural and religious backup are all present in my posts ... It is proven in my opinion; Makara emit deities... it is their role. The other deities including the crocodile human faced deity on the hand guard and other serpents ~possibly miniature Makaras and Nagas issued from the mouth of the hilt "subject" with the peacock tail and adorning the cross guard and pseudo quillon ends (Vagra). It is a Makara Hilt. If it was a lion would it have a peacock tail? No.

You are simply looking at this through another prism. It would seem to be rather cloudy.

I have backed up my arguement with solid facts drawn from many angles using pictures and detail across a swathe of structures from art form, literature, mythological inclusion, history, archeology, artefacts, jewelery, religion, tradition and ethnographic arms... yet still you do not agree. because you think it doesn't look like it.. and you appear to see something else. What about the precise argument offered here?

Perhaps you think that the hilt is of some other mysterious form? Moreover, having based your assumptions on entirely the wrong conclusions you may never join up the wires because your structure cannot match the theory of how this hilt was designed onto the weapon or by whom or when.

The Karvara kingdom would have to have reduced the Makara to near insignificance to have it overtaken by the Yali and some strange maneuvering to have the wrong mythical beast emit minor monsters ...and to give the wrong creature a peacock tail??.. it makes no sense.

Perhaps you may not have considered the religious inclusion of the Vagra in the design of the pseudo quillon structures? Do you not think that being blessed with Vagra finials that this Hilt would therefor need to be religiously correct?

My advice to you is to read the thread again.


Picture below in the same Nepalese square of the Lions with ...Lions Tails. Incidentally do you see any other deities being spewed forth from their mouths...?

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 13th January 2014, 08:33 PM   #158
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Dear Ibrahiim,

The Lions could have Elephant tails or be blowing bubbles from there tails, the tail is not present in the icons of the Kastane we discuss.
Equally the Makara could have a sheeps tail, it matters not as no Makara's tail is not present in the icons of the Kastane pommel we discuss.

The lion icons throughout India and surrounding countries are a far more accurate in appearance to the Kastane pommel than any Makara within the world is.

No one is denying you the right that Makara emit deities but these Kastane pommels are not emitting anything but tongues and teeth, hardly Makara Makara Deities. No one is denying the importance of place the Makara holds in the culture.

The clouded prism you note is based on the icons known and the importance known thousands of years, not what details are NOT seen in the icons of your suggestions that it is a Makara.

As visual historically important icons do not support your argument that the pommel is based on an the Makara, the point is rather empty. Why not suggest the hilt is Shiva the god of gods, Shiva is more important than any Makara and has as little visual similarities. No one is saying the Makara is reduced in any way throughout time but it is not carried in the Pommel of a Kastane.

To answer your question, I see nothing spewing forth from the Nepal Lions mouth. Lions do not do this, nor do the Pommels of Kastane show this.

Question to you; Please show me something other than a tongue and teeth issuing forth from the pommel of a Kastane.
Question; Why was the mountain of Sigiriya not carved as a Makara. Note the Buddhists who were present here without it being a Makara.
Question; When did the Makara become so distorted that it come to look like all the Lion icons in the lands.

My advice to you is obtain every known image of the Makara and do the same with the lions Leogrypgh, Yali (simha-vyala) and start a checklist of the traits and qualities within these icons and you will see clearly on the paper in front of you that the Makara falls well short of being presented on the Pommel of the Kastane.

Gavin
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Old 13th January 2014, 09:52 PM   #159
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Chaps...

The depicted Lion like temple Guardians from Nepal in this picture are often called Chinthe, in both Nepal & Burma.

I agree There definatly Leogryphs in English language deduction.

That's why the have lions tales.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/attac...id=114611&stc=1



Heres a great picture showing a liongryph ( of south Indian yali form} and makara figures on frieze at Narttamalai Pallava Cave Temple. from the seventh-eighth centuries.{From the Huntington archive.}

http://images.asc.ohio-state.edu/is...qlt=30&fmt=jpeg

That may {or may not.} help your discusian.

Spiral
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Old 14th January 2014, 07:00 AM   #160
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spiral
Chaps...

The depicted Lion like temple Guardians from Nepal in this picture are often called Chinthe, in both Nepal & Burma.

I agree There definatly Leogryphs in English language deduction.

That's why the have lions tales.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/attac...id=114611&stc=1



Heres a great picture showing a liongryph ( of south Indian yali form} and makara figures on frieze at Narttamalai Pallava Cave Temple. from the seventh-eighth centuries.{From the Huntington archive.}

http://images.asc.ohio-state.edu/is...qlt=30&fmt=jpeg

That may {or may not.} help your discusian.

Spiral



Salaams Spiral Thank you for the detail and constructive criticism and references . I will now however quickly prove with pictures the Makara peacock feather tale about its tail. Then I shall make a very brave statement about the Kastane. I hope you can remain with me until then...
Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 14th January 2014, 07:13 AM   #161
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SwordsAntiqueWeapons
Dear Ibrahiim,

The Lions could have Elephant tails or be blowing bubbles from there tails, the tail is not present in the icons of the Kastane we discuss.
Equally the Makara could have a sheeps tail, it matters not as no Makara's tail is not present in the icons of the Kastane pommel we discuss.

The lion icons throughout India and surrounding countries are a far more accurate in appearance to the Kastane pommel than any Makara within the world is.

No one is denying you the right that Makara emit deities but these Kastane pommels are not emitting anything but tongues and teeth, hardly Makara Makara Deities. No one is denying the importance of place the Makara holds in the culture.



The clouded prism you note is based on the icons known and the importance known thousands of years, not what details are NOT seen in the icons of your suggestions that it is a Makara.

As visual historically important icons do not support your argument that the pommel is based on an the Makara, the point is rather empty. Why not suggest the hilt is Shiva the god of gods, Shiva is more important than any Makara and has as little visual similarities. No one is saying the Makara is reduced in any way throughout time but it is not carried in the Pommel of a Kastane.

To answer your question, I see nothing spewing forth from the Nepal Lions mouth. Lions do not do this, nor do the Pommels of Kastane show this.

Question to you; Please show me something other than a tongue and teeth issuing forth from the pommel of a Kastane.
Question; Why was the mountain of Sigiriya not carved as a Makara. Note the Buddhists who were present here without it being a Makara.
Question; When did the Makara become so distorted that it come to look like all the Lion icons in the lands.

My advice to you is obtain every known image of the Makara and do the same with the lions Leogrypgh, Yali (simha-vyala) and start a checklist of the traits and qualities within these icons and you will see clearly on the paper in front of you that the Makara falls well short of being presented on the Pommel of the Kastane.

Gavin


Salaams SwordsAntiqueWeapons . Almost every Kastane illustrates a "geometric style" peacock tail and absolutely where there is a cross-guard, hand guard and "pseudo" quillons ... secondary deities shown having been emitted from the main subject on the hilt... The Makara.

The minor deities crawl, slither or appear as the human face on the hand-guard as the humano/crocodile mythical creature already on thread at #56 .

I note that further regurgitations occur from the miniature looking Makara especially on the handguard though the cross guard and Vagra finials appear to depict Nagas.

The Nagas and or secondary mini Makara appear on the hand- guard and cross-guard finials and swooping over the guard onto the pseudo quillons appearing as finials on the Vagra tips. That is where the tail appears dressing usually the triangular rain-guard arrangement, sometimes, even flowing over onto and down the blade throat itself. Finally on the scabbard at the drag chape there is occasionally another monster emitting another deity...or perhaps fire.

My plan is to show Makara with the tails of Peacocks since that is how the Buddhist religion shows their form. This is illustrated in Kastane Hilts etc in the following posts on this thread; 25, 52, 56, 71(Gunbutt), 78(door support), 115(Vagra),101,139, 147,150, 153.

The Peacock tail is the form created onto the Makara by the religious structure Buddhism. Fact. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makara...du_mythology%29

I will now illustrate peacock tails on the artistic "impressions" of this ancient mythical creature.

Pictures below indicate the importance of understanding the essential ingredient... The Tail...in Peacock form of the Makara.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 14th January 2014, 08:59 AM   #162
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Salaams All... Once more ... The Kastane hilt. Confirming the peacock tail thus the hilt of Makara form. Showing minor Deities ...having been spewed forth onto the guards and pseudo quillons even displayed as also emitting minor deities themselves since perhaps the artist is conveying mini Makara as well. Illustrating the Vagra Buddhist link and finally the monster at the tip of the scabbard mirroring the general concept of supporting deities in this sword based on the foundation mythical creature the Makara forming the hilt.
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Old 14th January 2014, 09:01 AM   #163
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Dear Ibrahiim,

I can appreciate your position on the subject I can but in the icons present above, none from antiquity show the form of the pommel.

I do concur the line drawing does but it doesn't look to be very old and the reference of its source is not forthcoming for better digestion.

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Old 14th January 2014, 09:04 AM   #164
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Dear Ibrahiim,

I see no feathers or peacock plumage of any kind in the images you provide...
Equally, in relation to a scabbard tip shown, I have had Kastane scabbards carved in the style of an elephant trunk...

Gavin
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Old 14th January 2014, 09:17 AM   #165
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Default Kastane; Not a Fighting Weapon. Icon only.

Salaams All. Moving forward... It is interesting that the iconic weapon Kastane (now the National Sword of Sri Lanka) appears to have little or no blade markings... marks of high quality blades often seen on Portuguese swords are absent on these weapons. Why?

It struck me that...No Kastane has ever turned up with a properly marked/ stamped blade ... particularly odd since the Portuguese were good at that. So what are these things about? I suggest:

1. Court Swords... Popham Armour, Jewel encrusted gold and silver inlaid...
2. Presentration Swords.. Japanese Delegation and in their Museum ...
3. VIP swords for the Sri Lankan landed gentry...see below.
4. Religious Icons... The Buddhist Vagra and Makara. Defender of the faith ...of Buddhism that is. Thus never a weapon. A religious Icon.
5. Defenders of the owners via myth and superstition because of its Deities.... It is Talismanic per se.
6. Added in retrospect ...Badges of rank of the wearer.

The blade is not marked nor stamped for excellence ...the blade is not for fighting... the enriched ruby encrusted gilded hilt would never be wielded in a fight ... a kind of a reverse engineering twist; in the same way that a crucifix or perhaps the cross and orb artifact wouldn't be used as a weapon to club someone to death!!..Neither would this be used as a dagger/ sword in a fight.. since this would dishonour the religion.

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Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 14th January 2014, 10:18 AM   #166
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Salaams All ~Makara. Some notes.

Only Varuna, the lord of the sky and the sea, the spiritual ruler of the world has power over the Makara. The Makara is Varuna’s vehicle in Hindu mythology. As most Karavas in southern Sri Lanka belong to the Karava Varunakulasuriya (Warunakulasuriya) clan, the symbolism is extremely interesting. In mythology Varuna is the chief of the Adithyas. Remnants of the name Adithya from the medieval period can still be found in Karava family names and the Nagadipa inscription of King Parakramabahu I mentions Chandraditya (Chandra + Adithya, Moon & Sun - quoted in Sakala Sinhala Chakrawarthi page 25). As Adithya is a synonym for Suriya (ie. the Sun). the Karava clan Varunakulasuriya too signifies Varuna-Adithya.

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Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

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Old 14th January 2014, 10:34 AM   #167
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
It struck me that...No Kastane has ever turned up with a properly marked/ stamped blade ... particularly odd since the Portuguese were good at that.

2. Presentration Swords.. Japanese Delegation and in their Museum ...


The Kastane in Sendai Museum, which you mention here, most probably the oldest Kastane with a proper provenance, has clear markings on its blade.

[/QUOTE]4. Religious Icons... The Buddhist Vagra and Makara. Defender of the faith ...of Buddhism that is. Thus never a weapon. A religious Icon.
5. Defenders of the owners via myth and superstition because of its Deities.... It is Talismanic per se.[/QUOTE]

Weapons with religious symbols on blades or fittings and of talismanic value are nothing of rarity. Actually the ties between religion and warfare are quite obvious and fundamental.
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Old 14th January 2014, 10:40 AM   #168
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Originally Posted by SwordsAntiqueWeapons
Dear Ibrahiim,

I see no feathers or peacock plumage of any kind in the images you provide...
Equally, in relation to a scabbard tip shown, I have had Kastane scabbards carved in the style of an elephant trunk...

Gavin



Salaams SwordsAntiqueWeapons ~If you consider The Makara in several stages of development you will note that its morphs according to which phase it is in...See below that it sometimes portrays the elephant form... so it is not surprising that you may have seen an elephant deployed in the scabbard... It is the way the artesan portrayed it..in stage 5 of its potential development...simple enough?

In similar ways the Deity is often portrayed with fish scales and a peacock tail...

Traditionally, a Makara is considered to be an aquatic mythical creature. Makara has been depicted typically as half animal half fish. Some traditional accounts identify it with a crocodile, specifically Gharial because of its long extended snout. It is depicted with the forequarters of an elephant and the hindquarters as a fish tail. Crocodile was also a form which was used in the earlier days which was shown with a human body.

In many temples, the depiction is in the form of half fish or seal with head of an elephant. It is also shown with head and jaws resembling a crocodile, an elephant trunk with scales of fish and a peacock tail. Other accounts identify it with Gangetic Dolphin having striking resemblances with the latter, now found mainly in Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary. Others portray it as a fish body with an elephant's head. The tradition identifies the makara with water, the source of all existence and fertility.

In the medieval era of South India, Makara was shown as a fifth stage of development, symbolized in the form of an elephant head and body with an elaborately foliated fish tail. Most myths maintain this symbolism of this stage in the evolution of life.

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Old 14th January 2014, 10:49 AM   #169
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustav
The Kastane in Sendai Museum, which you mention here, most probably the oldest Kastane with a proper provenance, has clear markings on its blade.



Weapons with religious symbols on blades or fittings and of talismanic value are nothing of rarity. Actually the ties between religion and warfare are quite obvious and fundamental.



Salaams Gustav, Thank you for your input which is very interesting ... .. Your point on religious links to battle swords is understood. My point is I have no records nor have any surfaced as yet of blades with stamps or markings, which, for a blade said to have possibly been made in a joint Portuguese Sri Lankan workshop is odd. At any rate my comment is purely speculative in this regard as you will note it is only a suggestion..but your post is excellent and inspires a look into the Japanese presentation item.

I note one web author who says Quote''The blades were initially of mediocre quality until blades made in Europe began to be used. Many of the blades bear East India Company trademark.'' Unquote. Does that mean that before the British arrived blades were inferior... I find this very interesting if true?

Here is the weapon you speak of.. I cant see a blade mark but assume an European blade here...see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hasekura_Tsunenaga

Described as; Indonesian kris and Ceylonese dagger (acquired in the Philippines), presented by Hasekura to Date Masamune upon his return; Sendai City Museum

Pictures of swords said to have been acquired in the Philippines and dated map of his travels. 1620 being key; Given the weapons at that time in the Philippines.



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Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 14th January 2014, 01:36 PM   #170
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Default Kastane Worn as Badges of Rank !!

Salaams All Note to Library Anecdotal note:
Kastana

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. I isolate those 2 points viz;


1. These swords were made in the Royal workshops known as the "Rankadu Pattala" or "golden sword workshop"

2. The quality of the piece always depended on the rank of the wearer.


Although the Rev. James Cordiner actually describes the Monster as a Tiger(!!) he does go on to say ~ Quote."The design and workmanship exhibited in these decorations are distinguishing badges of the particular rank of the wearer.”Unquote.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

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Old 14th January 2014, 04:24 PM   #171
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The old post seem to be dragging on once again but with the same old (what I thought was now a long dead) argument. I think I would not even try to convince Mr. Balooshi as he is fixed on his idea that the Kasthana pommel is Makara despite all the evidence presented and Mr. Balooshi seems totally unable to even examine and see objectively the points presented. Balooshi It would be good if you would kindly go through the thread again. most of these points you still throw around have been answered before.

Being from Sri Lanka- the Kasthana is part of my living heritage. I understand it standing within the culture which originated it and still survive. I see the Sinhala Makara and Lion and other mythical beasts in that context - there is no mistake the pommel is of a Lion head. It is also backed by the surviving sword lore and is even mentioned in ancient craft manuals like the “Vyjayantha thanthra” The Kasthana is known as the Lion hilted sword. There is not even a shard of doubt about the identity of the beast on the pommel.

As I said earlier there are Makara and Serapendiya figures depicted on other parts of the Kasthana hilt but the pommel is always a Lion head.

If you need to drag along this further may be you should look at depictions of Makara and Lion in Sinhala motifs instead of regional as there are some differences. Regional references don’t always tally up with Sinhala traditional art and motifs. bringing in a mixed hodge-podge of all sorts of creatures that don’t have a place in a Sinhala context is only adding to the confusion.

As I mentioned before there are two main classes of Kasthana swords- the earlier dated Kasthana with good blades and Silver, metal, Horn or wooden hilts were true fighting weapons. I had listed historic texts that document use of Kasthana swords in battle dating back to mid 16th Century. (Balooshi-please go back and check that). The Golden hilts with excessive jewels with the “dog-faced” Lion hilts and inferior blades were mostly just presentation swords used by Sinhala Mudelliers and Arachchis under Dutch and British administrations.

The religious Iconography used is as auspicious symbols to bring luck and protection to the warrior- Theravada Buddhism does not use weapons as religious Icons.

No new material seem to be forthcoming and only old ideas are being re-shuffled. It is funny that everyone else is able to identify Lions from Makara heads with the exception of Mr. Balooshi.
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Old 14th January 2014, 05:25 PM   #172
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prasanna Weerakkody
The old post seem to be dragging on once again but with the same old (what I thought was now a long dead) argument. I think I would not even try to convince Mr. Balooshi as he is fixed on his idea that the Kasthana pommel is Makara despite all the evidence presented and Mr. Balooshi seems totally unable to even examine and see objectively the points presented. Balooshi It would be good if you would kindly go through the thread again. most of these points you still throw around have been answered before.

Being from Sri Lanka- the Kasthana is part of my living heritage. I understand it standing within the culture which originated it and still survive. I see the Sinhala Makara and Lion and other mythical beasts in that context - there is no mistake the pommel is of a Lion head. It is also backed by the surviving sword lore and is even mentioned in ancient craft manuals like the “Vyjayantha thanthra” The Kasthana is known as the Lion hilted sword. There is not even a shard of doubt about the identity of the beast on the pommel.

As I said earlier there are Makara and Serapendiya figures depicted on other parts of the Kasthana hilt but the pommel is always a Lion head.

If you need to drag along this further may be you should look at depictions of Makara and Lion in Sinhala motifs instead of regional as there are some differences. Regional references don’t always tally up with Sinhala traditional art and motifs. bringing in a mixed hodge-podge of all sorts of creatures that don’t have a place in a Sinhala context is only adding to the confusion.

As I mentioned before there are two main classes of Kasthana swords- the earlier dated Kasthana with good blades and Silver, metal, Horn or wooden hilts were true fighting weapons. I had listed historic texts that document use of Kasthana swords in battle dating back to mid 16th Century. (Balooshi-please go back and check that). The Golden hilts with excessive jewels with the “dog-faced” Lion hilts and inferior blades were mostly just presentation swords used by Sinhala Mudelliers and Arachchis under Dutch and British administrations.

The religious Iconography used is as auspicious symbols to bring luck and protection to the warrior- Theravada Buddhism does not use weapons as religious Icons.

No new material seem to be forthcoming and only old ideas are being re-shuffled. It is funny that everyone else is able to identify Lions from Makara heads with the exception of Mr. Balooshi.




Salaams Prasanna Weerakkody,

Sir, I have been through the thread... I wrote most of it. You may think its funny...or that no new material is being offered. You could consider reflecting that the thread is dragging on... or that everyone else thinks the subject hilt depicts a lion...(strange that ... as there is only one other person in that debate)...If you aren't interested or perhaps you are bored what can I do about that? I certainly will not give up. I like the subject! Its interesting. I learn a lot as we proceed.

All that you have done is to pontificate "that because you say its a lion it must be a lion". It's not. Its a Makara. I have shown that in several recent posts ..see above. I have even listed reasons for ease of understanding and supported my reasoning with pictures.

New detail has emerged .. Anecdotal evidence from 1807 when the weapon was used as a military rank indicator.. and more logical evidence; historic, cultural, and traditional as well as religious. That is what this Forum is about.

If you do not wish to take part then it is entirely up to you...This is a Forum... you know what happens on Forums... ?

Being from Sri Lanka does not give you ownership of the Kastane...moreover it gives you the opportunity to debate this very little known sword on the hot anvil of this Forum and not Sir, to attempt to slur the efforts of others.

It is extremely bad form to suggest that I may have not the respect because I am not Sri Lankan and to suggest that by speaking to me in the 3rd person that everyone else is able to identify the lion except me is entirely without merit and very insulting.

You are mistaken about the Makara Hilt. Its not a Lion. I just proved it. See my last few posts.

Your point about ancient or older blades is noted ... but you cant just talk about them... It has to be looked at, examined and debated. It wouldn't surprise me if they were better blades.. but on this show... You have to practically dig the old body up with the original sword in his hand and a diagram in triplicate of the design signed by the maker! before it can be accepted beyond doubt.

No one else addresses me as Balooshi here... Kindly use my first name; Ibrahiim.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 14th January 2014, 06:14 PM   #173
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Old 14th January 2014, 08:56 PM   #174
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Dear Ibrahiim,

Please do not be so bold and self assured that you have "proved" it is a Makara. Nothing has been proved unless you have a time machine...one that I would like to hire if you do.

I am still awaiting for numerous direct questions to be answered, not side stepped and danced around.

Please be so kind as to provide direct answers when time permits.


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Old 14th January 2014, 09:09 PM   #175
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Dear Ibrahiim,

You may want to digest this victorain period etching further.

Gavin
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Old 14th January 2014, 11:26 PM   #176
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Sir, I have been through the thread… I wrote most of it.

Yes Ibrahiim, we know…
Fortunately academic debates are not necessarily won based upon who writes the most about the subject during the debate just as in person arguments are not won by the person who argues the loudest.
Frankly i see that you have proved nothing in this debate. And very clearly more than one person disagrees with your conclusion while i do not see anyone lining up who agrees with your hypothesis. I will add myself to the growing group of people who are at least voicing their opposition to your theory. I suspect that many are remaining silent because they don't see the point of argument. The pommel figure is undoubtably a lion to my eyes. It has lion features that are not known to have ever been a part of the Makara motif such as the mane and is missing many of the features such as the snout/trunk which are classic indicators of the Makara.
I am afraid that if you cannot see the pommel is clearly a lion's head, especially with this last picture posted by Gavin, that further debate with you on the subject is futile. But do carry on if it makes you feel any better.
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Old 15th January 2014, 03:18 AM   #177
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Dear Ibrahiim,

Please also find better sources for the image you supplied of Makara. This is a Leogryph, not a Makara. The head of a Lion, the body of a Griffin.

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Old 15th January 2014, 08:24 AM   #178
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SwordsAntiqueWeapons
Dear Ibrahiim,

You may want to digest this victorain period etching further.

Gavin



Salaams SwordsAntiqueWeapons Thank you for your detail showing the Victorian Lion. The picture of the half bird item is hugely interesting and for that I am grateful also. It appears to be a Serapendiya. (see picture below)

Over the last few weeks I have been defending the Makara .. blindly perhaps... but firmly in my opinion.(not always the best way of doing business ) At the same time (and lacking both support and disagreements both of which are inspirational especially if criticism is constructive) I have been looking sideways with great interest at the other monsters, Deities and grotesques involved in the Kastane Hilt. Many are virtually identical but as I have said not all have vital fish or Peacock tail arrangement... but blow me down some do!!


It seems possible that some highly controvertial alterations may have ensued in the way the Sri Lankan National Sword may have been been historically re written. Thus this is a highly emotive subject in some quarters. Though the Victorian view of what Europeans thought a Lion looked like I have to say that their construction may have been slightly off regarding accuracy. That to one side .. it will be apparent from my findings in looking at the broader picture that some Deities will begin to fuse .. and who knows I could end up debating the Lion head after all...

The confusion is hardly surprising..Virtually every source I have looked at including museums and auction houses have a bland overall way of encompassing the description of the Kastane hilt. Some explain it in dual form either a Makara or a Lion, others call it a grotesque whilst the dragon word often intervenes. Several mix up the minor deities (if that is what they are) whilst others confuse the face on the handguard as a maiden...etc etc ..

Through the ages, considering the occupation of three invading forces including Portuguese, Dutch, and British (and interference by others) all now fairly well inducted into library via this thread by the way ... and not to mention the now full information package that this thread contains..The Kastane has switched from potential weapon,to court sword, to presentation sword, to badge of office, to badge of rank, to National Sword and carries with it Buddhist forms at the quillons probably from the Vagra structure discussed here.

During its history there is some evidence that restrictions on who could wear it. As early as 1807 Royal Workshops were involved in its production though exactly how this developed or from where is not yet known. It would seem that a junior officer would have a less lavish Kastane and somewhere there is possibly a rank structure/Kastane graph ...or note detailing who could wear what..

Somewhere in the martial arts system in Sri Lanka there may exist confirmation that this weapon was one of the many weapons used before or at the beginning of Portuguese involvement.

Current thinking suggests Royal Workshop collusion with the Portuguese in creating the lavish hilt if not the entire item. If the kingdom which inspired the design was in fact the Karvara dynasty then the hilt is more likely not to be Lion and far more probable to be Makara. If Sinhalese then the design would more likely to be intended as Lion.

In studying the different motiffs I have to add "serapendiya" (a mythical figure of an animal whose head is like that of a lion joined to the body of a bird) head quillon finials. (Frankly I had never even heard of it until I began sweeping about considering the Lion situation) See the pictures below.

In fact, it may well be that #23 The quilons and guards carry Makara and Serapendiya heads interchangeably. Some swords also carry representation of deities on sword hilts in addition to the Animal forms... is correct.

Picture shows Serapendiya. Perhaps this Deity holds the key?

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Old 15th January 2014, 08:56 AM   #179
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
Yes Ibrahiim, we know…
Fortunately academic debates are not necessarily won based upon who writes the most about the subject during the debate just as in person arguments are not won by the person who argues the loudest.
Frankly i see that you have proved nothing in this debate. And very clearly more than one person disagrees with your conclusion while i do not see anyone lining up who agrees with your hypothesis. I will add myself to the growing group of people who are at least voicing their opposition to your theory. I suspect that many are remaining silent because they don't see the point of argument. The pommel figure is undoubtably a lion to my eyes. It has lion features that are not known to have ever been a part of the Makara motif such as the mane and is missing many of the features such as the snout/trunk which are classic indicators of the Makara.
I am afraid that if you cannot see the pommel is clearly a lion's head, especially with this last picture posted by Gavin, that further debate with you on the subject is futile. But do carry on if it makes you feel any better.


Salaams David. Good points well brought out! I agree.
Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 15th January 2014, 09:30 AM   #180
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Picture shows Serapendiya. Perhaps this Deity holds the key?


Dear Ibrahiim,

I stand corrected on this creature, the one with the Lion head.

Michael Backman has provided information about these swords and the Serapendiya when displayed in his gallery. The bibliography he provides will I am sure offer great insight in to art and armour from these regions as his reading/library list is impeccable.

Gavin
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