Ethnographic Arms & Armour
 

Go Back   Ethnographic Arms & Armour > Discussion Forums > Ethnographic Weapons
User Name
Password
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 15th February 2014, 02:12 PM   #31
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,945
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
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.


Salaams Jim, I was delving amongst the Portuguese/Sri Lankan VOC and other archives ..please see... http://books.google.com.om/books?id...oliyans&f=false which delivers a fabulous description entitled Ceylon and the Portuguese, 1505-1658 By Paulus Edward Pieris ~

...where I found a report relating to Sri Lanka 1520AD .. on what I can only describe as a sort of Sri Lankan territorial army set up where land owners provided military groups in time of need to the rulers... One such page presents the description of a sword carried by the commanders of these small sub units as being small with lion headed hilts;

Since these were for fighting against the invaders...( in 1520 this was the Portuguese...) this document provides evidence that the leaders of these small militias were called Arachchi and had superior officers over them called Mudaliyars.. proving not only that the Mudaliyars leadership were early Sri Lankan invention not working for the Portuguese but against them...(On the home team so to speak !) and that there were Sri Lankans Arachchi in 1520 armed with Kastane!! whose blades were indeed made in Sri Lanka and not imported!!

That suggests that the Kastane was not a Portuguese invention at all... but may still of course have been designed around an earlier imported style perhaps via Hormuz where the Moors often traded.

(The emphasis on the weapon design other than a possible rough framework hinted at as maybe influence from a European derivative would illustrate the deeply historical and religious nature of its development and is an area that I would later like to place some detail.)

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
Attached Images
  

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 15th February 2014 at 05:48 PM.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15th February 2014, 06:40 PM   #32
fernando
Lead Moderator European Armoury
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 6,344
Default

Modeliar is a surname derived from the honorary title Mudali, a rank that was brought by the Tamil to Ceylon during their diaspora.

According to:

(Sebastião Dalgado - Glossario Luso Asiatico).
MODELIAR, mudeliar ( more correct but less used). Chief, native Captain; honorary title. From the tamil mudaliyãr, honorific plural of mudali, “ chief “.
The term was used in early times in the Meridional India and in Melaca, but subsisting presently in Ceylon. Their ceremony dress is very rich and exuberant, partly native partly Portuguese, of XVI century nobility

(Francisco de Andrada – Chronicles of King Dom João III – 1613)
He has put to torment some modeliars, who are Captains of war people.

(Antonio Bocarro Década XIII page 495 - 1635)
They had some encounters with the enemy in Matalé, where they cut 35 heads and took some araches and modiliares, who are the head men among them.

(João Ribeiro – Fatalidade Historica Ceilão – chapter V -1685)
And consulting eachother the person that should be elected, they settled that it should be an Apuame of the Emperor and by him well considered, due to being a man of gifts among them, discreet and great friend of ours and who had become a Christian, being then called Dom João; after all, precisely the convenient for such business. And giving him the title of Modeliar, who among us exercizes the rank of Field Master, in a few days arrived at Candia...

(Friar Fernão de Queiroz,- Conquest of Ceylon -1687
The Dissauas respond to the Adelantados of Spain and Fronteyros of Portugal; the Modeliares to the Fiel Masters; the Araches to the Company Captains.

(Reginald Heber, Narrative of a journey – 1825)
The Moodeliers or native magistrates, head men as they are generally called, wear a strange mixture of Portuguese and native dress, but handsome, from the gold with which it is covered.
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th February 2014, 01:59 PM   #33
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,945
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default Its Development, Decoration and Symbolism


Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 16th February 2014 at 02:09 PM.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th February 2014, 02:07 PM   #34
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,945
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default Its Development, Decoration and Symbolism

Salaams all ~ To address the situation regarding Development Decoration and Symbolism I have broken the sword down into;
1. Blade.
2. Quillons.
3. Rain Guard.
4. Cross Guard.
5. Handguard.
6. Pommel.
7. Scabbard and sash.


In dealing with the Blade...(the other 6; I will address in no particular order later)

BLADE.
My previous post outlines at ~http://books.google.com.om/books?id...oliyans&f=false which delivers a fabulous description entitled Ceylon and the Portuguese, 1505-1658 By Paulus Edward Pieris. Where native blades are outlined.

~ The fact appears that these blades were indeed Native. Thus, a follow on to that would entail examining the blade manufacturing situation in Sri Lanka which we know was extensive and specialised earlier and that they had the technology used to harness wind and fire producing very high temperatures required for good quality steel including wootz. Blade manufacturing is extensively noted regionally and touched upon regarding Sri Lanka at http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=502 by Dr. Ann Feuerbach.

There is a splendid article on Sri Lankan very early manufacture as long ago as 3rd millenium BC...see http://www.nytimes.com/1996/02/06/s...rade-steel.html although the process seems to have faded in the 11th C it would seem likely that some production would have prevailed...

See Also http://www.nature.com/nature/journa...s/379060a0.html

In the Sri Lankan Royal Court Workshops there were artesans expert in blade making ...see http://www.craftrevival.org/Extrali...PageCode=P00014 and at http://www.craftrevival.org/CraftAr...raftCode=003531 where not only is there a description of the various smiths including black smiths and brass artesans but many of the decorative styles used...

It is thus considered plausible that the blades were being made in Sri Lanka prior to the 1505 arrival of the Portuguese invaders.

In attempting to reverse engineer the blades to see where European blades may seem to suggest a likeness and number of variants may be possible though it may only be down to prefererred size for a race of people with a slightly shorter build...(It may be plausible that the Moors of Sri Lanka brought a sword design with quillons etc from Hormuz much earlier and that became copied and adorned)...Were these in fact simply long daggers or were they swords? The former is suggested and coupled with the obvious fact that they were also Badges of Office... A man wearing one would be immediately recognisable as at least a Mudalyar...even in the early 1500s and likely before.

In a note as to "Development" it can be seen that through the three invader periods blades may have changed from curved to straight(occasionally) and with a varied style of blade/point; sharpened on both sides near the tip.. and that the Dutch imported blades and other items with the VOC mark; some struck in Amsterdam with an additional A whilst others in Batavia ... Modern day Jacarta. The Portuguese do not seem to have provided nor struck Kastane blades with blademarks. Neither did the English with the EIC mark.. but did on firearms and bayonets... and other items.

In respect of "Symbolism"/ "Decoration" on blade form there are some with the Piha-Kaetta treatment in that some lavish overspill appears spilling onto the throat seemingly at various stages in the weapons development (on some but not all examples viewed) though as yet not attributed except perhaps in the general trend of a form of floral or peacock tail design.. thus locked into the religious / mythical story of symbolic lore. Not surprising since exquisite Piha-Kaetta daggers were made in the same or related Royal Workshops departments as Kastane according to the reference tittled "craft revival" above..

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 17th February 2014 at 07:08 AM.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th February 2014, 08:04 PM   #35
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 6,664
Default

As previously discussed and noted by Ibrahiim, the high quality steel from the monsoon powered furnaces smelted in Ceylon and exported widely was well known into ancient times. It would be hard to fathom there not being superb swordsmiths there were produce the kinds of blades required for edged weapons including the kasthane. I am under the impression these would have been primarily in the Kandyan Royal workshops.

As also noted and in accord with Deraniyagala, the early kasthane blades must have been inspired by early Moorish sabres and probably produced there. Clearly the port cities on the Sinhalese littoral controlled first by Portuguese then Dutch and ultimately British would have provided trade or acquisition blades for local hiltings in those locations.

In my view the Portuguese blades, well known in many of their colonial spheres, especially in India , were typically of rapier and heavier arming swords and not suitable of course for these small sabres. I am unclear on whatever cutlasses or the like they may have used however.

By the time the Dutch VOC blades begin appearing in the 18th century, it would appear other trade blades may have already been coming in via trade networks and perhaps Solingen produced. Initially I thought the VOC blades may have been intended for import, but their occurrence on numbers of regulation type military hilts suggests otherwise. Though these may have been for remounts on regulation swords as required, many may have been traded to local merchants and artisans. Also as previously suggested, perhaps VOC individuals may have had local hilts put on their issued blades .

In the concurrent thread on VOC blades we have had magnificent support from so many members here who have remarkable knowledge of these regions, and giving us amazing perspective on this complex trade context.

Fernando, excellent perspective on the mudeliars! Thank you!
It seems the more of this data I read, the more I realize how little real understanding I have had of it all. Its great to have these kind of well explained details at hand.
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th February 2014, 02:52 PM   #36
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,945
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default The Kastane "Quillons".

Salaams All,

The quillons of the Kastane seem not to be actual functional defensive mechanisms in that they are too small to allow a finger to be inserted for extra purchase in the strike nor do they allow for the trapping of an incoming sliding blade in the usual manner of other quilloned swords. There is hardly a gap left to enable this action indeed the blade at the very throat is delberately less broad making that action impossible.,, and so that the quillons finials are closer to the blade; No gap no trap. See photo below.
(The situation of the long rainguard may pose an interesting disarming function but will be discussed later on isolating that feature.)

On reflection it appears that the device we call quillons is actually from a much earlier period than the earliest quillons in western weapons ;The Vajra protrusions seen on Buddhist ceremonial axes. Pictures below.

The finials are of the minor Deity style (of various possible names) but generally in the Naga or serpentine head type. They are extremely ornate but have no apparent practical function... except ornamentally or as a possible weight or balance factor.. though that is somewhat thin (excuse pun ) since some Kastane don't have quillons.

Comments welcome...

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
Attached Images
    

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 19th February 2014 at 07:09 AM.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19th February 2014, 02:54 AM   #37
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 6,664
Default

I think that it is well established that the kasthane in the regularly seen embellished form is pretty much a parade type arm worn as a badge of rank or office. As discussed, the elements seen in the hilt are vestigial features from earlier hilts in which the quillon and guard system had intended purposes for combative use. These were primarily the basic features of the hilts which developed in Italy in later fully developed rapier forms, and later found their way into nimcha style hilts . Variations of these same hilt arrangements are known throughout Europe as well as through the Arab trade world.

The various creatures represented on the elements of the hilt have symbolic and some apotropaic purpose of course. It is important to recognize these weapons and these symbolic features in that they serve more votive purpose than any actual combative intent.

The Tibetan axes as well of course as the phurbu daggers are entirely spiritual weapons with no worldly combative value . In India many swords are considered 'temple' swords, such as the unusual flamboyant blade Nayar examples. While these are in some degree regarded as being based on actual combat weapons of earlier times, in actuality the sometimes dramatic features are intended in more spiritually embellished sense than for an actual purpose.

The downward triangular protrusion on the kasthane would be more associated with langets which are essentially for scabbarding the weapon, but also provides useful area for additional embellishment and decoration.
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19th February 2014, 06:45 AM   #38
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,945
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default RAIN GUARD

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
I think that it is well established that the kasthane in the regularly seen embellished form is pretty much a parade type arm worn as a badge of rank or office. As discussed, the elements seen in the hilt are vestigial features from earlier hilts in which the quillon and guard system had intended purposes for combative use. These were primarily the basic features of the hilts which developed in Italy in later fully developed rapier forms, and later found their way into nimcha style hilts . Variations of these same hilt arrangements are known throughout Europe as well as through the Arab trade world.

The various creatures represented on the elements of the hilt have symbolic and some apotropaic purpose of course. It is important to recognize these weapons and these symbolic features in that they serve more votive purpose than any actual combative intent.

The Tibetan axes as well of course as the phurbu daggers are entirely spiritual weapons with no worldly combative value . In India many swords are considered 'temple' swords, such as the unusual flamboyant blade Nayar examples. While these are in some degree regarded as being based on actual combat weapons of earlier times, in actuality the sometimes dramatic features are intended in more spiritually embellished sense than for an actual purpose.

The downward triangular protrusion on the kasthane would be more associated with langets which are essentially for scabbarding the weapon, but also provides useful area for additional embellishment and decoration.



Salaams Jim, Whilst I agree upon the apotropaic nature of such embelishment from the talismanic and majic protection viewpoint and the votive purpose of the Kastane, I was in fact surprised to see that it was also carried into war / battle situations by the Arachchi and probably the Mudaliyars but in the latter more likely in the form of a badge of office...which later transmitted to a full-on badge of rank and status icon... throughout the Portuguese, Dutch and English periods.

Rain Guard.
Taking on the Rainguard; It appears as a peculiar and extended triangular protrusion. Could this have been utilized instead of the quillons for trapping an oponents sword?.. and as a rainguard and locking mechanism into the scabbard ~ clearly its main function...Interestingly it is usually decorated with a foliate or peacock tail feather stylistic decoration associated with several Deities(Makara and other) but also occasionally thereupon sits a funny looking face which is the half humanoid monster "Kirtimukha" on the Kastane at my last posting. Otherwise often carved and painted typically above ancient architectural temple doors.

From Wikipedia; Quote"The word mukha in Sanskrit refers to the face while kīrti means "fame, glory". Kirtimukha has its origin in a legend from the Skanda Purana when Jalandhara, an all-devouring monster created from Shiva, third eye willingly ate his body starting by its tail as per Lord Shiva's order, who pleased with the result gave it the name face of glory. Some authors have compared the Kirtimukha myth with the Greek myth of Ouroboros.

The Kirtimukha is often used as a decorative motif surmounting the pinnacle of a temple or the image of a deity, especially in South Indian architecture. This face is sometimes assimilated to, or confused with, another sculptural element, the lion face (Simhamukha). However, in order to be a Kirtimukha it has to be engaged in swallowing, for the Kirtimukha is the figure of the "all consuming" This monstrous face with bulging eyes sits also as an embellishment over the lintel of the gate to the inner sanctum in many Hindu temples signifying the reabsorption that marks the entry into the temple. Mostly it is only a face, although in some places its arms are portrayed as well".Unquote.

Is what is being portrayed the spilling of minor Deity form via Makara, Nagas and Kirtimukha(swallowing) etc culminating with overflowing and exuberant, lavish, decorative, mythical detail over the quillons and rainguard onto the blade at the throat and onto the scabbard? Thus it is hardly surprising that such a weapon is heralded and so important in the history of Sri Lanka...perhaps underlining its home grown, home produced nature?

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 19th February 2014 at 08:33 AM.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19th February 2014, 06:34 PM   #39
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 6,664
Default

It seems that the kasthane, or its prototypes, was at one time a battle sword long before it became a symbolic badge of rank or office. It would seem that less lavishly decorated examples may have existed contemporarily which were used as combat weapons, much as was typically the case with military officers using fighting rather than dress swords
A sword used by King Rajasinghe III at the battle of Gannowruwa in 1638 (now held at Dodanvela Devale) had a hilt with beast pommel and simple upturned knuckleguard with single downturned quillon, no sideguard or langet.
The sword of Bhuvanakabuhu I of Yapuhuva of 13th c. (r.1272-1284)?
was apparently with a lionhead but no further details yet found.

I think it may be helpful to add some of the nomenclature pertaining to the hilt features of the kasthane:
A : Gediya, pommel
B: Mitta or hilt often known as 'sinha manu mitta' (=lion faced hilt)
C: Ath vasma or ath hade= knuckleguard
D: Vari sarkuva-quillons also known as serependiya mana as they
are generally formed of serependiya heads.
E: Alluva....side plates
F: Kadu patha , isa -blade
G: Peeli -grooves along the blade
H: Agissa-edge
I: Thuda-point

Source: Deraniyagala (1942, p.113)

It would appear as is often the case that the battle sword was of loosely the same form however understandably considerably more austere. In Deraniyagala it is noted that "...the development of the ceremonial sword of rank soon unfitted it for fighting purposes as the elaborate crest of the lion headed hit comes into contact with the heel of the users hand or wrist, while it is also significant that swords so ornamented generally appear to be too small for war, unlike the larger ones which have no such crests. The latter swords also possess as many as four quillons" (op.cit. p.113) .

While the projection on the guard extending as a langet (termed alluva or side plate) takes a more vestigial presence in the elaborate kasthane of rank, it serves well as the palate for symbolically placed devices.

Turning to the discussion of the kirtimukha in this location on the hilts of some kasthane, Robert Elgood has observed regarding such instances "...in view of the decisive concern with protection against the spirit world that characterizes Hinduism, the kirtimukha is the perfect device to place upon a weapon for prophylactic reasons; but reflecting the duality of all aspects of Hinduism it contains within it the reverse facility of ferocious aggression" (Elgood, 2004, p.134). The author also discusses the placement of kirtimukha or makara at the base of the blade on many sacrificial weapons to protect the user from spiritual forces unleashed by violent use of the blade

These kinds of symbolism may seem more likely to be placed on actual combat weapons, or as noted on sacrificial weapons, however it is important to remember that in the same sense of 'spiritual combat' with which ritual and ceremonial weapons are used, the weapon worn as a badge of rank may have similar properties. It may be considered that the individual of rank or office is signified as having authority and power in which they might require similar apotropaic protection from consequences or results of necessary actions. Naturally this is my own speculation as I confess less than adequate understanding of these matters.

Returning to these kirtimukha and makara heads (Elgood, p.134) the author notes that the use of this feature at the base of the blade "..appears in the kris in SE Asia where a mask to ward off evil is often carved at the base of the handle above the mendek. The probability is that this is a very ancient practice, because the makara head occupies the same place on the phur-pa and other Tibetan edged weapons and because the design has not changed since the time of the Buddha we may point to the likelihood of it being a feature of the Indian vajra".

As has been noted by Ibrahiim, the presence of these kinds of symbols, devices and representations are of course very much in line with the architecture of temples and many religious monuments and iconography.
In these respects, the kasthane and its profound iconography has become an important reflection of the many facets of the diverse heritage of Sri Lanka, and I hope that here we will continue gaining better understanding of their history.
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20th February 2014, 02:53 PM   #40
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,945
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
It seems that the kasthane, or its prototypes, was at one time a battle sword long before it became a symbolic badge of rank or office. It would seem that less lavishly decorated examples may have existed contemporarily which were used as combat weapons, much as was typically the case with military officers using fighting rather than dress swords
A sword used by King Rajasinghe III at the battle of Gannowruwa in 1638 (now held at Dodanvela Devale) had a hilt with beast pommel and simple upturned knuckleguard with single downturned quillon, no sideguard or langet.
The sword of Bhuvanakabuhu I of Yapuhuva of 13th c. (r.1272-1284)?
was apparently with a lionhead but no further details yet found.

I think it may be helpful to add some of the nomenclature pertaining to the hilt features of the kasthane:
A : Gediya, pommel
B: Mitta or hilt often known as 'sinha manu mitta' (=lion faced hilt)
C: Ath vasma or ath hade= knuckleguard
D: Vari sarkuva-quillons also known as serependiya mana as they
are generally formed of serependiya heads.
E: Alluva....side plates
F: Kadu patha , isa -blade
G: Peeli -grooves along the blade
H: Agissa-edge
I: Thuda-point

Source: Deraniyagala (1942, p.113)

It would appear as is often the case that the battle sword was of loosely the same form however understandably considerably more austere. In Deraniyagala it is noted that "...the development of the ceremonial sword of rank soon unfitted it for fighting purposes as the elaborate crest of the lion headed hit comes into contact with the heel of the users hand or wrist, while it is also significant that swords so ornamented generally appear to be too small for war, unlike the larger ones which have no such crests. The latter swords also possess as many as four quillons" (op.cit. p.113) .

While the projection on the guard extending as a langet (termed alluva or side plate) takes a more vestigial presence in the elaborate kasthane of rank, it serves well as the palate for symbolically placed devices.

Turning to the discussion of the kirtimukha in this location on the hilts of some kasthane, Robert Elgood has observed regarding such instances "...in view of the decisive concern with protection against the spirit world that characterizes Hinduism, the kirtimukha is the perfect device to place upon a weapon for prophylactic reasons; but reflecting the duality of all aspects of Hinduism it contains within it the reverse facility of ferocious aggression" (Elgood, 2004, p.134). The author also discusses the placement of kirtimukha or makara at the base of the blade on many sacrificial weapons to protect the user from spiritual forces unleashed by violent use of the blade

These kinds of symbolism may seem more likely to be placed on actual combat weapons, or as noted on sacrificial weapons, however it is important to remember that in the same sense of 'spiritual combat' with which ritual and ceremonial weapons are used, the weapon worn as a badge of rank may have similar properties. It may be considered that the individual of rank or office is signified as having authority and power in which they might require similar apotropaic protection from consequences or results of necessary actions. Naturally this is my own speculation as I confess less than adequate understanding of these matters.

Returning to these kirtimukha and makara heads (Elgood, p.134) the author notes that the use of this feature at the base of the blade "..appears in the kris in SE Asia where a mask to ward off evil is often carved at the base of the handle above the mendek. The probability is that this is a very ancient practice, because the makara head occupies the same place on the phur-pa and other Tibetan edged weapons and because the design has not changed since the time of the Buddha we may point to the likelihood of it being a feature of the Indian vajra".

As has been noted by Ibrahiim, the presence of these kinds of symbols, devices and representations are of course very much in line with the architecture of temples and many religious monuments and iconography.
In these respects, the kasthane and its profound iconography has become an important reflection of the many facets of the diverse heritage of Sri Lanka, and I hope that here we will continue gaining better understanding of their history.



Salaams Jim, Great rendition, excellent research and important detail in support... I must say I had no idea the separate parts were so called ..and this and the general overall picture indicates and underlines a solemn foundation in Sri Lankan history and beliefs.

To reinforce that general thesis I place an ancient Sri Lankan Gods group in support of the theory of home grown / home produced Kastane...though without prejudicing the potential influences of European, Moors of Sri Lanka or Indian influence partly or wholly...

Naturally I am focused upon the short sword below with the exceptionally long rain-guard and the short blade which I perceive is of Kastane blade proportions and on a hilt with several similar constructions. I take this as evidence of a much earlier short sword style which must be taken into account when deciding on origin of species...thus predating any European influence.

Regarding the Deities since I am close to being in mid stream discussing these~...Whilst conclusions are probably going to be difficult or vague at best... I think we are close to some definition as to type and form however as always caution is advised ... or putting it another way from http://amazinglanka.com/wp/makara-torana/ I quote the authors final comment on drawing any sort of conclusion upon the different understanding of Deities (in this case The Makara) but the rule applies to the many varieties~

Quote"It could be noted that no two sketches have any close resemblance to each other so that it would be evident that each one of these artists acted on his own conception of the Makara".Unquote.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
Attached Images
 

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 20th February 2014 at 03:20 PM.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20th February 2014, 07:38 PM   #41
Maurice
Member
 
Maurice's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: The Netherlands
Posts: 1,298
Default

Quote:
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.
Attached Images
         
Maurice is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20th February 2014, 09:12 PM   #42
David
Keris forum moderator
 
David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: The Great Midwest
Posts: 5,285
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Regarding the Deities since I am close to being in mid stream discussing these~…Whilst conclusions are probably going to be difficult or vague at best... I think we are close to some definition as to type and form however as always caution is advised ... or putting it another way from http://amazinglanka.com/wp/makara-torana/ I quote the authors final comment on drawing any sort of conclusion upon the different understanding of Deities (in this case The Makara) but the rule applies to the many varieties~

Quote"It could be noted that no two sketches have any close resemblance to each other so that it would be evident that each one of these artists acted on his own conception of the Makara".Unquote.

Perhaps just a matter of semantics, but it should be understood that the makara, while known to be a vehicle for certain deities is not, in fact, a diety itself.
David is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20th February 2014, 10:58 PM   #43
napoleon
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 73
Default

these are wonderfull,many thanks, i think the piha kaetta is the best ive seen,rock crystal handle? were these the kings personal weapons?
napoleon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st February 2014, 12:37 AM   #44
napoleon
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 73
Default

hello again jim,does anyone have a picture of the keicho mission kastane, and is it known where the popham example currently is? i still feel we need to see more examples,are these the only two with definate provenance?surely there must be more?
napoleon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st February 2014, 12:57 AM   #45
napoleon
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 73
Default

ok again thanks maurice these then date to some time before 1765,and fair to say come from kandy royal workshops,so now if we take the main features of the style,and superimpose them on lesser examples we should be able broadly speaking to create a style attributable to candy workshops?royal and lesser?
napoleon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st February 2014, 01:37 PM   #46
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,945
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by napoleon
hello again jim,does anyone have a picture of the keicho mission kastane, and is it known where the popham example currently is? i still feel we need to see more examples,are these the only two with definate provenance?surely there must be more?



Salaams napoleon... Well you could try #13 and #14 for the Japanese mission conundrum and http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=14998 which also focussed on Hasekuras tour as well as the Popham Armour and is full of Kastane examples; none in my opinion which can be overlaid on others to determine provenance.. since it appears that individual artistic impression based on mythical beliefs is responsible for the variation.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st February 2014, 05:38 PM   #47
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,945
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default The Break in Iron and Steel Production in Sri Lanka.

Salaams All...

The reason why there is an apparent gap in the detail regarding Pre Portuguese and post Portuguese kastane making in Sri Lanka was because ....

according to http://thakshana.nsf.ac.lk/pdf/VIDU...U%2019_1_30.pdf

Quote"In ancient times the caste system was mainly occupational based. As a result technology was preserved by being handed down from generation to generation.The caste system was developed to maintain the socio economic systems of the day.The social system changed with the advent of foreign rule and as a resulot the traditional technological know how was lost under colonialism.

Another reason for the decline was the cheap import of iron and steel implements imported from Europe and the inability of the indiginous iron producers to adopt new advances in technology".Unquote.


In real terms this would not have started to take effect much before 1550 during Portuguese partial control, though, once the Dutch, driven by the VOC, which fed on trade (and indicated by VOC stamped kastane blades for example) and the EIC of the English (though they did not apparently stamp blades of Kastane) until the modern era it seems iron/steel production would have been, at best, only scant. The break then in indiginous iron/steel production probably occured in the mid to late 1500s though some local iron/steel may have been produced in the Kandian Kingdom thereafter but dwindled further under English rule as they seized the entire country.

In conclusion I place this as possible evidence to explain our misunderstanding and the gap in proceedings possibly tricking the reader into thinking the Kastane was introduced when in effect it has been a purebred Sri Lankan Icon from its early pre European period.


Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 22nd February 2014 at 05:04 PM.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd February 2014, 03:12 PM   #48
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,945
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default

Salaams all.. We continue the Kastane Hilt analysis~

Quoting the relevant SriLankan names supplied by Jim at #40 viz;

Ath vasma or ath hade= knuckleguard.
Vari sarkuva-quillons also known as serependiya mana as they
are generally formed of serependiya heads.


~and assuming serependiya means also the heads on what we regard as the cross guard finials and mirrored on the knuckleguard.~

Serependiya are so closely associated with Makara that physically they are almost indistinguishable from them except that they appear as smaller finials in this case involved pretty well all over the hilt. They are commonly regarded as being associated as having been spewed out by the Makara and themselves issue foliage from their jaws. Occasionally they may be described as Naga (snake heads) Dragons, Eagle Heads, etc etc though in the parlance of mythology it would be impossible to tie down with pin point accuracy and since all deities of this nature are morphable entities why should they be?

The point about Deity or their form is that they are lavishly applied to this weapon offering both protection with associated monsters breathing fire, foliage or other deities and by dormant entities like the humano/crocodile on the handguard as well as the Kuriimukhta on the rainguard which rather than spewing evil destructive beings out... gobbles up danger...(in a reverse, almost defensive posture but in support of the main theme)... The whole item steeped in protective Buddhist-Hindu ancient talismanic elements.


Such then are the religio/socio traditional and historical implications so far illustrated on this Iconic sword that it defies gravity (always a contentious occupation when dealing with ethnographic weapons !) that any other group than Buddhist- Hindu could have had any input into its design ...or at least in its decorative construct..perhaps a further indicator of a purely home made / home grown weapon.


Shown Below ~The Kastane hilt illustrating the humano/crocodile face half way down the knuckleguard framed by emissions of fire/the protective swish of a peacock like tail.. from two accompanying Serendipiyya/ Nagas.(is a picture showing the odd humanoid face which is a deity often associated with Makara (though not always). Picture from Forum see http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...98&page=2&pp=30 #56.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
Attached Images
 

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 22nd February 2014 at 05:10 PM.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd February 2014, 04:15 PM   #49
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,945
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default Kastane Hilt; Lion or...Makara ?

Salaams All ~

The Kastane; Lion /Makara Hilt.

It is not possible to draw a conclusion from the item seen at the hilt as to its Lion like or Makara like attributes. In fact some would say that it makes no difference what it is…and though it would be enlightening to know for sure; certainty is not a word that exists in the murky world of myth and legend. Personally I am happy with the “stylistic zoomorphic nature” of this Iconic hilt but always ready to consider your views.

The main hilt character… or should I say characters since the mythical description defies any singular pin point reasoning… and why should it? After all the myth is perpetrated by its variability, change of shape, chameleon like variability… It is legend, myth, religious meaning and …essentially how you as a believer in the ancient faiths/religious constructs of Buddhism and Hinduism see it. What’s more it is a physical hand carving made by an artisan who may have observed the creation in any of its 5 different life stages…plus the obvious inclination by artists to throw in their own interpretation. It may be noted that unlike the tradition of blade making the art of hand carving in wood, horn and Ivory contained no break in being handed down thus the tradition goes back more than 1000 years.

Put another way by http://www.amazinglanka.com/wp/makara-torana/
Quote” The central theme of the story is the glorification of Makara as the symbol of the Kurukula races. It is a composite animal, a concept of early cultures, a symbol of creative power, a symbol of “Sakti”. “It has the head of a crocodile, the horns of a goat, the body of an antelope or deer, a curved tail like that of a snake with the head of a fish and feet like those of a panther or a dog, with two horns on the forehead, its sides and bloated belly covered with leopard like spots, it is like nothing on earth.” Raghavan further states “The Makara embodies in its combination the fundamental symbolism of Traditional Psychology. It is symbolic of the Five Elements. In so far as it belongs to the Element Earth, it is like a creeping snake. In so far as it belongs to the Element Water, it is like a fish. In so far as it belongs to the Element Fire, it is panther like. In so far as it belongs to the Element Air, it is like a deer or a mountain goat. Extending this to the four elements of manifestation, the nature of the Makara is of a composite dragon”. Unquote.

Readers may believe one or the other.. some may suppose that one is more dominant a style on some swords than others or that the association between other deities are associated with the Makara but not the Lion or that the importance of a Lion over rides all else in Sri Lankan tradition so it must be a Lion. In the minds of some it looks like a lion so it must be one (a rather unsatisfactory view based on the above)

That then is a conundrum that may never be fully explained. There are, however, perhaps bigger fish to fry here… not least the burning question of European design transfer or home grown only?…Sri Lankan Purebred or a combination effort?

It is a conclusion I am working on but I await your input… Comments welcome.

Oh Forum… ? What do you suggest?

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
Attached Images
      

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 23rd February 2014 at 04:29 PM.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th February 2014, 07:53 AM   #50
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,945
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default

Salaams All... However I forgot to add something ... The Nimcha.

Please see http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...=Charles+Buttin and in particular #9. With the main early Sri Lankan traders being Moors and the tantalising similarities as pointed to by the late Anthony North between Nimcha and Kastane members perhaps need to view the broader picture. The more ornate Nimcha hilts look even more remarkably like the Kastane....

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th February 2014, 06:07 PM   #51
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,945
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default

Salaams ... and... a most interesting link from library on comparisons on the Kastane and Nimcha guards ... at http://blade.japet.com/NIMCHA/N-protection.htm

At this point the Genie bottle seems to have its cork stuck however it is a perfect occasion to pause for a while to view the broad problems of consequences of trade and influence on The Kastane before the advent of European ships into the region.


Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 25th February 2014 at 06:00 PM.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th February 2014, 04:03 PM   #52
VANDOO
(deceased)
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: OKLAHOMA, USA
Posts: 3,140
Smile

" The word singa is derived from the Sanskrit singa, "lion". The Batak term of singa has a predominantly magical, rather than zoological, so singa does not symbolize a lion. Instead, the singa represents the Nāga or Boru Saniang Naga, the primeval water serpent from the Hindu-Buddhist mythology. It is not fully understood why the name singa is attributed to this figure.[2][3][4] "

THE ABOVE QUOTE IS FROM WIKI. FOUND UNDER SINGA (MYTHOLOGY) THIS WOULD HELP EXPLAIN THE SINGAPORE HALF LION, HALF FISH AS WELL AS THE POMMEL DECORATION ON THE KASTANCE. SO PERHAPS THE LION LIKE ONES ARE SINGA AND THERE MAY BE A FEW MAKARA AS WELL BUT ON MOST EXAMPLES I HAVE SEEN THE LION OR SINGA IS THE MORE COMMON. THE SINGA IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT IN BATACK CULTURE BUT HAS MORE OF A HUMAN FACE. PERHAPS MAKARA AND SINGA SPEAK OF THE SAME CREATURE IN MYTHOLOGY
VANDOO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th February 2014, 09:15 AM   #53
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,945
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by VANDOO
" The word singa is derived from the Sanskrit singa, "lion". The Batak term of singa has a predominantly magical, rather than zoological, so singa does not symbolize a lion. Instead, the singa represents the Nāga or Boru Saniang Naga, the primeval water serpent from the Hindu-Buddhist mythology. It is not fully understood why the name singa is attributed to this figure.[2][3][4] "

THE ABOVE QUOTE IS FROM WIKI. FOUND UNDER SINGA (MYTHOLOGY) THIS WOULD HELP EXPLAIN THE SINGAPORE HALF LION, HALF FISH AS WELL AS THE POMMEL DECORATION ON THE KASTANCE. SO PERHAPS THE LION LIKE ONES ARE SINGA AND THERE MAY BE A FEW MAKARA AS WELL BUT ON MOST EXAMPLES I HAVE SEEN THE LION OR SINGA IS THE MORE COMMON. THE SINGA IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT IN BATACK CULTURE BUT HAS MORE OF A HUMAN FACE. PERHAPS MAKARA AND SINGA SPEAK OF THE SAME CREATURE IN MYTHOLOGY


Salaams VANDOO ~ Of the many tides of influence sweeping across the Kastane scene; religion, myth and superstition rate highly ..not least shrouded in time and the duality of Buddhist and Hindu influence but also shaken by the 3 invaders which have created further fog and a great deal of disruption..not least in the after development e.g. In European dogheads with pure Sri Lankan influence going the other way...Then the pan Indian Ocean regional effect possibly centred upon Jakarata geographically and as the obvious trading hub through which the huge Hindu-Buddhist influence is traditionally applied. The Javanese and other sister regions where Zoomorphic/Mythical hilts is observed would indicate some inter-fusion or influence and adds to the mystique of the weapon being unraveled.

I have viewed the discussion from many points of the compass and am generally of the opinion that the decorative influence is home grown whilst the basic form may well be derived from other styles irrespective of the fighting nature of those styles. I think the obvious link is in the Moors of Sri Lankan tie-up with trade... Hormuz, Sohar, Red Sea ports and inter regionally...potentially sucking in early European and South East Asian forms already discussed.

I have mentioned the tantalizing Nimcha effect and the obvious Indian influences and the reduction in Iron and Steel gap in activity caused by the invaders particularly the Dutch.

I think we are closer to a general overview of where we see the Kastane and armed with a vastly improved library of detail, at some future point, an even clearer picture may be forthcoming...As to whether the shape triggers in the mind of the beholder .. A Lion or a serpent/ Makara is probably not so important given the mythology (I simply accept that since it defies logic by definition) Once the prefix "stylistic" is added it may be irrelevant ?

Meanwhile thank you for your posts...

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 27th February 2014 at 01:25 PM.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th February 2014, 02:29 PM   #54
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,945
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default

Salaams All... I would suggest that a number of lead in articles and illustrations be added at about this point to create a foundation of support ideas for any sort of semi conclusions and mid research results so far...

I have seen some of the advertising for the brilliant work by Robert Hales and have taken one of those pages to illustrate 3 beautiful related examples ... The Indian Connection perhaps or part of it? The descriptions are the authors view and may not reflect the broader concept of "stylistic" as opposed to "actual"...from the mythical viewpoint ...but it is the artwork placed here that is important.
Attached Images
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th February 2014, 09:53 AM   #55
napoleon
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 73
Default kastane

saalams ibrahiim,hello jim,yes i fully accept regional and artistic variation,but my point is where weapons have a point of origin,you then have provenance as with the weapons from candy royal palace,artists do tend to be recognisable by their overall style,so i think that if you were to compare high end examples,you could identify one royal workshop, it is a begining i think but in order to do so need pictures of high quality swords,so anyone lucky enough to own such a piece could we see them please
napoleon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st March 2014, 05:08 AM   #56
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,945
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by napoleon
saalams ibrahiim,hello jim,yes i fully accept regional and artistic variation,but my point is where weapons have a point of origin,you then have provenance as with the weapons from candy royal palace,artists do tend to be recognisable by their overall style,so i think that if you were to compare high end examples,you could identify one royal workshop, it is a begining i think but in order to do so need pictures of high quality swords,so anyone lucky enough to own such a piece could we see them please


Salaams Napoleon ~ We dont have a point of origin...That is the point. Moreover if we knew what artesans were working in which workshops and with what techniques and styles around the Pre Portuguese entry in 1505 we would be very nicely placed to engineer a full and proveable answer.. We have none of these... thus, we are insofar as these observations you note almost completely in the dark... Shining a light into those dark corners and unearthing what small details we can may lead us to a clearer image of how, what, where, when, why and who ?... regarding the mysterious Kastane.

For a substantial report on Royal Workshops please see http://www.craftrevival.org/Extrali...PageCode=P00014

Regards.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 1st March 2014 at 08:38 AM.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd March 2014, 11:11 AM   #57
napoleon
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 73
Default kastane

saalams ibrahiim,thank you for the link,i wasnt offering a point of origin but a point from which to start,that is something of known origin such as the swords and piha kaetta from kandy royal palace ,what can definatley be said is that these do come from a known point in time and a known place,it may not be pre portugese ,but my belief is that if there are more swords such as these then perhaps a broad frame work could be established in terms of dating,and probably regional variation,getting back to the point of origin start from what is known and try to work backwards and forwards regards napoleon
napoleon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd March 2014, 03:13 PM   #58
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,945
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default The Nature of The Beast.

Quote:
Originally Posted by napoleon
saalams ibrahiim,thank you for the link,i wasnt offering a point of origin but a point from which to start,that is something of known origin such as the swords and piha kaetta from kandy royal palace ,what can definatley be said is that these do come from a known point in time and a known place,it may not be pre portugese ,but my belief is that if there are more swords such as these then perhaps a broad frame work could be established in terms of dating,and probably regional variation,getting back to the point of origin start from what is known and try to work backwards and forwards regards napoleon



Salaams Napoleon... Can you tell me from which point in time / known place the Kastane comes?

What I can say is that we know a lot more now than we did a year ago, however, we may never know for sure about the full intricacies of this weapon...thus we may have to move forward using generalities "maybe and possibly" since there are so many imponderables.

Regional variation is always something we are looking for and close relationships appear in Javanese, Tibettan and Indian weapons ...but you may also have to look at the effects on the early system caused by the 3 invader countries and how that has thrown the link to their past traditions for example in steel making. Impact on design may have come from European styles and that is where the problem really difuses widely...with influence caused by possible early pre 1505AD(ie Pre Portuguese period) weapon imports from Red Sea, Arabian Sea and Gulf ports by the wide ranging sea merchants.. The Sri Lankan Moors.

It could be argued that we have created more questions than we have solved, moreover, the ball of string has only just begun to unravel... Who knows what other knots we may encounter on the way?

There appears to be a close tie-up design-wise in the Piha Khaeta and its close proximity inside the Royal Workshops organisation. Shape and form appear similar and design swirls and decorative features, not least the spill over onto the blade in lavish stylistic decoration are interesting as well as the Zoomorhic hilt that so much resembles the Kastane monster deity though appears to have birdlike feathers and proportions in some examples, though not all.. See http://www.vikingsword.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/000498.html

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 3rd March 2014 at 04:17 PM.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd March 2014, 06:02 PM   #59
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 6,664
Default

Hi Napoleon,

What I would point out here is that the purpose of this topic in this thread is to discover and discuss more on the development of the kasthane as a recognized indigenous form of sword in Sri Lanka, and possibilities for its origins and the symbolism seen in its decoration.
Much of what we are discussing are examples and records of potential clues in these aspects, so actually Napoleon, what you are suggesting is pretty much what we have been doing and in point of fact we have been working on for years It is interesting to look through the search here to see the discussions over years and how far we have come though (my own research goes back only about 10 years).

Interesting observation concerning the identification of 'high end' weapons by stylistic association of certain artisans, and that factor does often come into play in identification of certain weapons in many cases overall . I would note that it is not a universally possible standard however, and in the case of the Royal Workshops in Kandy, it seems the artisans were collectively following the directives of those in power. With this circumstance it would seem that they were following guidelines in their work and that individual license would not be likely. It seems one reference I recall noted this was apparent in that these artisans did not sign their work in the Kandyan shops.

The issue of regional variation has almost typically been recognized as a problem in classification of ethnographic weapons overall as diffusion of forms through trade, warfare, colonialization and nomadic circumstances are ever present factors challenging such specific identifications often attempted.
What has been proposed here in a number of instances is that perhaps regional variation may account for some of the notable differences in some examples of the kasthane. It seems clear that certain similarly formed sword hilts in other cultural regions reveal distinct associations.

As Ibrahiim has well noted, we may have revealed more questions than answers here, but it that is often the nature of research and what is important is that these are what may lead us to key clues in the larger scope of the study.

I do very much appreciate your interest and participation in this study and its indeed good to see we share common views in our efforts here.
I also agree that I look forward to seeing examples of other collectors here, and on that note I am most grateful to Ibrahiim for furnishing the outstanding illustrations and references to date here.

All best regards,
Jim
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th March 2014, 09:05 AM   #60
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,945
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default Indian Influence on Sri Lankan artesan design.

Salaams All Note to Library~ The Zoomorphic styles of India need to be brought into focus since that is the largest and closest neighbour to the old Sri Lankan situation and must have played an important part in design and style influence..and since the religious form was broadly quite similar. See http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=16363

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT. The time now is 04:54 PM.


Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Posts are regarded as being copyrighted by their authors and the act of posting material is deemed to be a granting of an irrevocable nonexclusive license for display here.