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Old 13th March 2014, 01:39 AM   #91
David
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We have a person from the culture we are discussing come on to say that these creatures are not "deities". Let it go Jim…
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Old 13th March 2014, 04:55 AM   #92
Prasanna Weerakkody
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I must say Jim that despite all that you would read- in the ground context of Sri Lanka Makara or Lion is not considered as any god or deities. You must realize Sinhala context is not Hindu either and some of the mainland concepts do not properly apply here anyway.

Fernando I have always found your posts interesting and inspiring as it provided a counter/ more Portuguese oriented perspective to how I experience things down here. Your sources and material presented are just great. I think it is clear that the kasthane origin is Sinhala. but there are many un-answered questions remain and it is also clear that it did draw inspiration from many foreign sources as well. one of the questions that I am intrigued by is that the changeover of the Sinhala fighters from the dominance of double edged long swords of the previous era- that seem quite similar to the arms of the Portuguese roughly at the time of their arrival and shifting to the Kasthana. The Portuguese is possibly the first enemy the Sinhala armies face off that used heavy armor- cuirasses etc at that scale. many other weapons show adaptations to items that are better suited to armor piercing purposes at the time but Kasthana travels a different path in retaining a slashing blade. why? (keeping in mind that Kasthana may not have been a primary weapon of the soldiery of the field (Calachurro example?)). Also I just noted that brass blades are common among modern replica’s but it in no way necessitates that the image you presented is modern. Please let know the date of publication you extracted the swords from. If you look at the proper battle kasthana and the later purely ceremonial ones one of the most noted differences is the way the blade attaches to the hilt (like in the images provided), it will be very interesting to see how far back this type of construction can be set to.
Regards
Prasanna
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Old 13th March 2014, 03:23 PM   #93
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Originally Posted by Prasanna Weerakkody
I must say that I had decided to stay away from the thread; not due to being unable to stand argument as some might suggest-but as it no longer seems objective about the study that for me is one of profound personal interest. same things repeat over and over with minor contortions while (sadly) quickly forgetting all the information that has been Included in the previous thread where this discussion initiated. I did feel quite sad as among the noise there was also some very important material being shared and raised and I must say I did learn a lot being part of it.

The reason I am writing this note is to at least provide a re-cap of points that were presented in the other thread that seem to be getting forgotten and to at least try in some way to counter some of the mis-information that seem to be taking root within the thread. being from the country of origin of the Kasthana - It is sometimes difficult not to be amused by some of the things that continue being said (despite errors being pointed out). Many theories about Sinhala arts, crafts, culture and history portrayed seem alien and quite new to me having been a student of Sinhala Art history all my life. - it’s quite an eye opener how much mis-information; just starts as a wild guesses becomes realities and can take root through the internet. (may be it is my disadvantage to be from Sri Lanka - otherwise may be I would have enjoyed the fantasies more freely.)

As David already very correctly pointed out- In Sri Lanka neither Lion, Makara nor Serapendiya are ever considered deities or gods in any form; they are depicted as no more than mere decorative “BEAST” forms (though auspicious- like the lotus or conch-shell). They are used as Icons; Lion representing Sinhala race, Makara as a symbol of protection and regeneration. etc. etc.

The only goddess or deities represented on Kasthana seem to be images that may be Sri-Devi/Luxmi, or Patthini devi depicted sometimes on the outer side of the hand guard and/or on the langet. These on occasion may be only figures of “Nari-latha” or tree nymphs. It is a significant area of study to identify the mostly female deities present on a weapon instead of a warrior gods such as karthikeiya or Kali.

Forum still does not seem to recognize the sources I provided that in a Sri Lankan/ Sinhala historic context clearly establish the Kasthana Sword to mid 16th century. which at least in a local context is backed by examples that have good provenance and supported by strong literary evidence. There is solid local evidence to prove that the Kasthane sword in its proper form and name existed at least in mid 16th century if not earlier. . (please check earlier thread for reference) I do understand that the forum members are at a loss when it comes to reading original historic sources written in Sinhala. but the reality is that they do exist. the post 14th century era saw the emergence of a long series of books written as “Hatan Kavya” (war poems) which give significant details of battles and warriors and arms used.

If the sword (and the name Kasthana) was in existence in the early to mid 16th century and associated well with King Rajasinhe I. it is clear that the origin of the weapon clearly and significantly pre-date the Kandyan kingdom and its workshops; and would have its origin more in the Sithawaka and/or Kotte kingdoms- post the transfer of the capital to Kandy the workshops there would have continued production of the swords. but it would not have originated in “Kandyan workshops” which is a misnomer. The design trends associated with the early (more refined) form of Kasthana can be associated with art trends of even the Dambadeni or Gampola Kingdoms which predate even the Kotte Sithawaka era.

The Sinhala crafts and technology was influenced by more than the 3 European invaders and the moors, The country was visited 3 times by the Navy of Cheng ho (Zheng He) shortly before the arrival of the Portuguese; and there was prolific trade, diplomatic, religious and cultural ties to Thailand to Burma and most of East Asia and even up to China. Mainland India both Northern and Southern continued to be in strong contact throughout time. large Sinhala trade ships are documented sailing to Chinese ports and even to Roman courts more than a millennia before. the concept that the moors were the “mercantile marine” of the sinhales is in error though they did carry out trade in Sinhala ports during the 15th century and supported the Sinhales in some battles as the Portuguese was a direct threat to their trade. The Sinhales craftsmen were good at adapting foreign technology encountered often giving them a local twist. The location of the country at the southernmost tip of the Indian sub-continent necessitated any ships plying the coasts of South Asia would use it as a trade hub. The 14th century text “Kandauru siritha” list many types of foreign swords used by the kings army including swords listed as Pandi, Wadiga, Jaina, Malaya, Madura, Thelangu, Java, Vanga, Ayodhya swords. A total of 32 types of swords are listed including “Wak kadu” or curved swords which may have been the predecessor of the Kasthana type blade- which if true would date the type of blades significantly before the Portuguese encounter.

The craft based “cast” system was in existence in Sri Lanka till the end of the Kandyan Kingdom in 1815. The system was broken down only under the British rule.

The Early Kasthana was possibly designed with a lot of thought and reason for each of its components. The traditional systems carry rather firm disciplines in proportions and use of its elements. The texts like the “Vaijayantha-thanthra” are examples. which set guidelines for the length and breadth of blades and the types of decoration and iconographies to be followed. most of the sword lore and smiting techniques became extinct under the extreme repression of the British raj. The Brits took over the country using intrigue not the force of arms in which they repeatedly failed as long as the Sinhala crown lasted. so the Brits knew the need to suppress anything that was even connected to martial traditions in the Sinhales. Orders were given to shoot at anyone practicing “Angam” and all arms and armor related crafts perished in the post 1815 era.

Recently I was rather saddened to see a small “ola leaf” technical manual on ancient sword making being dismantled and sold piecemeal page by page to gullible tourists in an antique shop the South of the country purporting to be “Lord Buddha’s own handwriting”. But the bit that I saw remaining indicate firm guidelines set in construction of the blades.

Though I would not feel confident in identifying the inspiration for the Kasthana design- Based on the way a TRADITIONAL kasthana is constructed and put together I believe that the use of the quillons and the langet is used mainly to strengthen the base of the sword, provide a good seat on the scabbards and also to deflect a sliding cut away from the hand. not for the purpose of holding and locking enemy blades. The association of tibetan vajra with kasthana is purely artificial in a Sinhala context- as I pointed out before the Mahayana/Vajrayana buddhist traditions to which vajra symbolism belonged was extinct or only vestigially present in Sri Lanka the time in question. The predominant Theravada Buddhist traditions give no significance to it. the quillon shape is quite regular within the framework of Sinhala motifs without a need to associate it with the Vajra

Ibrahim I think your classification of Kasthana to include characters of all degenerate deviant sub-species counters the identification of proper kasthana swords- the true Kasthana carries a single edged blade that is curved, The quillons are always 4 and the primary animal heads on quillons, guard and hilt is 6 (or more- never less). There is a firm order and tradition of composition of animal head types and accessory figures and iconography on hilt and quillons. but I shall refrain on commenting further on this as I have given sufficient level of my comments on that topic elsewhere in the earlier thread but the issue within this forum stays stubbornly muddled.

Ibrahim I am not sure how these modern illustrations of Hindu gods become useful in the purpose of the thread. if needed look for period specific reference that may have more value here.

Napoleon- it is best to visit the earlier thread which carried some good illustrations of Kasthana, There are a modest amount of direct historic evidence available within a Sri Lankan archaeological/ historic records. If you would look at my posts I have included some references to heirloom swords still remaining with the original families they were gifted to by Kings which give good provenance as some still even carry gift deeds, flags and other items presented along with the kasthana to the chieftains who excelled in battle. I am also very interested in the typological chronology of the kasthana which seem quite clear path of evolution from the earliest (most refined) to late (of more valuable material but weak craftsmanship and design). a lot of modern poor quality replica’s also float around including brass bladed items. previously I made a possible reference to a source that could well stand as an earlier example of a Kasthana timeline based on the evolution of design elements.

I just hope the forum stay objective and selective in acceptance of the material provided- unless the thread may do more harm to the study of the Kasthana than good.

p.s. Ibrahim thank you for the private message to me. I was any way thinking of posting this.

Regards prasanna


Salaams Prasanna ~ Thank you for your note about my PM and your early response which is very highly regarded. Not being Srl Lankan in this regard I do apologise for the indelicate descriptions involving the famous and fabulous Icons surrounding the very convoluted story so far on the Kastane. From an outsiders viewpoint the best words to describe the designs seemed to be Deity..This is not simply an arrived at conclusion but appears in many references which we understand may have got it slightly off frequency...when perhaps to satisfy the equation Icon would be a better word, however, to the researcher there was no reason to be concerned since they both mean the same ... to them. I hope no offence has been made in this regard.

I was actually about to reitterate what you had pointed out regarding the Home Grown nature of The Kastane illustrating your post of the earlier thread showing the stone figure "Hanguranketha" with a sword clearly of similar Quillon style at http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...98&page=9&pp=30 and more or less ruling out any foreign influence altogether... though in fact the influence clearly flowed the other way much later than the 16th C. onto European Dogheads and in fact earlier referring to the Benin weapon(Hybrid) and to some extent the Popham Armour(Courtsword) and even the Sendai item ..

I hope you agree that though this has been a huge and difficult task especially as the research is so difficult and in particular from the foreigners viewpoint..and not being versed so well in Buddhism nor Hinduism that what we actually have achieved ...stormy at times ... ....is not a bad effort since now practically all the detail that is currently available rests on these pages. I make no apology for repetition or what some describe as "fat" since it is easy to jab remarks at what has been a difficult struggle to say the least. I believe that those who have fallen by the wayside did so because they couldnt stand the pace...or just were unable to get involved..maybe they can join later. The ink is free ! and they are always welcome.

In your other post in which you state Quote
"I think it is clear that the kasthane origin is Sinhala. but there are many un-answered questions remain and it is also clear that it did draw inspiration from many foreign sources as well. one of the questions that I am intrigued by is that the changeover of the Sinhala fighters from the dominance of double edged long swords of the previous era- that seem quite similar to the arms of the Portuguese roughly at the time of their arrival and shifting to the Kasthana".
Unquote. This is a fascinating subject and I hope you can advise us further.

Nice to see your post and thank you for the excellent and constructive content... Great Country, Great People, Great Sword !

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 13th March 2014 at 03:44 PM.
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Old 13th March 2014, 03:43 PM   #94
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Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
…when perhaps to satisfy the equation Icon would be a better word, however, to the researcher there was no reason to be concerned since they both mean the same ... to them.

They most certainly do not…not to researchers or anyone for that matter.
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Old 13th March 2014, 03:53 PM   #95
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They most certainly do not…not to researchers or anyone for that matter.


Salaams David. I think the matter is properly addressed now dont you? Despite vast references that illustrate the words Deity and note the huge variance in descriptive terms; dragon, snake, eagle, serpent, Makara, beast, gargoyle, Lion, to name a few... does it really actually matter ? The more important weight is concerned with the date and timing of any Sri Lankan adoption of this weapon style ... not whether Europeans transliterate what they see and what the references describe. Deity \ Icon??

Perhaps it would be like flogging a dead horse to continue arguing the point no?

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 13th March 2014, 04:38 PM   #96
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Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Salaams David. I think the matter is properly addressed now dont you? Despite vast references that illustrate the words Deity and note the huge variance in descriptive terms; dragon, snake, eagle, serpent, Makara, beast, gargoyle, Lion, to name a few... does it really actually matter ? The more important weight is concerned with the date and timing of any Sri Lankan adoption of this weapon style ... not whether Europeans transliterate what they see and what the references describe. Deity \ Icon??

Perhaps it would be like flogging a dead horse to continue arguing the point no?

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Well Ibrahiim, you claim to want to understand the kastane. Any ethnographic weapon cannot be properly understood without a clear understanding of the culture that spawned it or that culture's intent in its design. Deities are gods and goddess, supreme beings that are worshipped by the people that attend to that culture. An "Icon" if you choose to insist on that term, when not used in its original sense of a painting of Jesus Christ, can be viewed as "a person or thing regarded as a representative symbol of something." If the Sinhalese people were placing their gods and goddess on these hilts it would have a certain meaning and power to it. That they chose the iconic lion, a symbol of the Sinhalese people, to place on the pommel, conveys a separate purpose, meaning and understanding. To confuse "Deity" with "Icon" or see them as somehow interchangeable terms will only lead to continued confusion on the intent, place and purpose of the kastane within Sinhalese culture. So, you ask "dragon, snake, eagle, serpent, Makara, beast, gargoyle, Lion, to name a few… does it really actually matter?" Come on Ibrahiim, of course it matters.
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Old 13th March 2014, 06:39 PM   #97
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Originally Posted by David
Well Ibrahiim, you claim to want to understand the kastane. Any ethnographic weapon cannot be properly understood without a clear understanding of the culture that spawned it or that culture's intent in its design. Deities are gods and goddess, supreme beings that are worshipped by the people that attend to that culture. An "Icon" if you choose to insist on that term, when not used in its original sense of a painting of Jesus Christ, can be viewed as "a person or thing regarded as a representative symbol of something." If the Sinhalese people were placing their gods and goddess on these hilts it would have a certain meaning and power to it. That they chose the iconic lion, a symbol of the Sinhalese people, to place on the pommel, conveys a separate purpose, meaning and understanding. To confuse "Deity" with "Icon" or see them as somehow interchangeable terms will only lead to continued confusion on the intent, place and purpose of the kastane within Sinhalese culture. So, you ask "dragon, snake, eagle, serpent, Makara, beast, gargoyle, Lion, to name a few… does it really actually matter?" Come on Ibrahiim, of course it matters.


Salaams David, I think you are confused by the terminology and where I note your reference to religion, perhaps it underlines how difficult it is to engage in discussion without mentioning it. However, I am clear in my mind how these are viewed from the foreigner viewpoint and not being a follower of that religion... however, out of respect I have viewed the terms from a students angle in studying those religions from the Sri Lankan ancient historical viewpoint..

I have no problem with the words Icon or Deity. No it probably does not matter whether someone describes an Icon as a fish or dragon or Makara etc since it is only their perception ... nothing to get hung up about and since this is a discussion; no malice however hot the anvil becomes..

Prasanna Weerakkody would perhaps describe something as Iconic whereas I may perhaps call it a Deity... it doesn't matter. we are talking about the same thing.

What matters is in getting together a set of informative details however hard that is...and being able to step back and freely admit that Library has been served and as having contributed to the understanding of this very difficult subject; I think that is fair.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

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Old 13th March 2014, 07:00 PM   #98
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Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Prasanna Weerakkody would perhaps describe something as Iconic whereas I may perhaps call it a Deity… it doesn't matter. we are talking about the same thing.

If that is really what you choose to believe Ibrahiim, good luck with that, but you have not convinced me in the least and your understanding of these weapons will continue to remain muddled as long as you cannot understand the importance in making a distinction between "Deity" and "Icon" when discussing what is represented on these hilts.
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Old 13th March 2014, 07:22 PM   #99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prasanna Weerakkody
... Fernando I have always found your posts interesting and inspiring as it provided a counter/ more Portuguese oriented perspective to how I experience things down here. Your sources and material presented are just great. I think it is clear that the kasthane origin is Sinhala. but there are many un-answered questions remain and it is also clear that it did draw inspiration from many foreign sources as well. one of the questions that I am intrigued by is that the changeover of the Sinhala fighters from the dominance of double edged long swords of the previous era- that seem quite similar to the arms of the Portuguese roughly at the time of their arrival and shifting to the Kasthana. The Portuguese is possibly the first enemy the Sinhala armies face off that used heavy armor- cuirasses etc at that scale. many other weapons show adaptations to items that are better suited to armor piercing purposes at the time but Kasthana travels a different path in retaining a slashing blade. why? (keeping in mind that Kasthana may not have been a primary weapon of the soldiery of the field (Calachurro example?)). Also I just noted that brass blades are common among modern replica’s but it in no way necessitates that the image you presented is modern. Please let know the date of publication you extracted the swords from. If you look at the proper battle kasthana and the later purely ceremonial ones one of the most noted differences is the way the blade attaches to the hilt (like in the images provided), it will be very interesting to see how far back this type of construction can be set to ...

Thank you for your complacency, Prasanna .
I didn't dare familiarizing the Kasthana with the Calachurro, although it crossed my mind; but these inferrments are waters too deep for me to navigate .
I have tried again to get the semanthics of Kasthana in the same glossary where the term Calachurro is contemplated. The author, Monsignor Sebastião Rodolfo Dalgado (Assagaum, Bardez, Goa 1855 - Lisbon 1922) is completely above suspicion, from the heigths of his knowledge of Devanagari, Latin, Concani, Lecturer in Sanscrit, Doctor in letters, author of a study of Portuguese influence in Indian subcontinent languages and other.
I was not surprised in not finding the term in the letter K, as such letter is not used in the portuguese alphabet. Then i tried the letter C (for Castane or similar) and still i found nothing, apart from the term Catana, derived from the well known Katana, which has a dozen quotations from the various chroniclars, but no one linking it to Sinhalese Kasthana, a possibility suggested by some. It is for me a great mistery that the Kasthana is not mentioned in this glossary ... unless the Portuguese gave it a name with a different composition.
I have phoned Mr. Daehnhardt, the book author and collector who owns the the brass blade Kasthana, besides several others, some of them highly valuable examples. I asked him to place an age on the example in the book and he answered, not mentioning that specific one but, brass blades in general, which certainly were from the 19th century ... even from the 20th. Talking about these swords in general he is of the opinion that the Kasthana dates from medieval times ( 4th, 6th, 7th century); ands he reiterates that it only achieved the lower curved (pseudo) quillons after association with the Portuguese ... whatever this statement is worth (my remark).

.

Last edited by fernando : 13th March 2014 at 10:40 PM. Reason: paragraph correction
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Old 13th March 2014, 09:11 PM   #100
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
We have a person from the culture we are discussing come on to say that these creatures are not "deities". Let it go Jim…



Whew!! OK doc!! I'm alright now.......Ok, OK, let it go, let it go!
I'm glad to see the discussion is still going, and as I see various entries I can see just how silly much of it was. What I was trying to do, during my spell, was to illustrate what Prasanna noted quite simply, that the term denoting these mythical entities is different in many cases in Sri Lanka than in other cultural parlances.
The problems of semantics, transliteration and perception of course become issues in studying any facet of one culture by those of another. This is why we have footnotes, qualifying references or simply explanations of alternate views or terms. Actually those practices are unfortunately what often is in place with my 'avalanches'

By this same token, much the same as recognizing that definitions are not necessary applicable in every case (the reason why dictionaries offer multiple meanings) , descriptions of terms and meanings are not always 'cut and dry' particularly with the complexities of deeply subjective material.
With that I would recognize that proper understanding of terms, in the context being observed, is indeed important. This is why as researchers it is important for us to include these disparities in text as part of discussion, which often results in considerably more words. One of the key reasons for disagreements and misunderstandings in these venues is poor wording, lack of qualification or explanatory text, along of course with discourtesy.

I know that in trying to describe many of the figures we have been discussing, I feel very uncomfortable in using descriptions such as 'monster'; 'beast' or 'grotesque' as often used in many descriptions, as these are often seen with pejorative meanings in western culture. In this same manner I know that I try, as clearly has Ibrahiim, to find as proper an unoffensive term as possible to show proper respect in referring to the various elements we are discussing. Thankfully Prasanna has rejoined us to help us with these delicate aspects, for example in properly understanding the term deity, along with his comprehensive overall knowledge of course on these subjects.

What is even better is that Fernando has rejoined us with his extremely valuable knowledge and resources on the Portuguese part in the history of these weapons, not to mention his always brilliant wit which truly helps lighten the admittedly sometimes text laden burden here. With that I would acknowledge Rick's note on that issue, and his concerns on our integrity here due to the 'heavy' demeanor of the thread(s). It is true that many of us here are from different cultures, and certainly all have our own 'styles' and interests. It has always been my position that we should allow patience and understanding to prevail as we interact, as well as observing courtesy and gentlemanly respect toward each other.
A very wise man once said, if you find the style or subject matter of another disturbing or annoying, simply ignore them and avoid the thread and topics.
I am glad this thread has continued, and especially with the outstanding complement of participants now present. While some view the topic as having run its course, I have never seen history of anything as having reached that point, it is very much a living entity, always having more to say.

That is why we are here, and hopefully others sharing these interests will join, and emphatically I will say, all opinions, observations and views are welcome and eagerly accepted.
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Old 13th March 2014, 09:46 PM   #101
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I know that in trying to describe many of the figures we have been discussing, I feel very uncomfortable in using descriptions such as 'monster'; 'beast' or 'grotesque' as often used in many descriptions, as these are often seen with pejorative meanings in western culture.

Jim, i completely agree with your distain for the use of the above terminology and its possible pejorative nature. This is why it is perhaps best to refer to these figures simply as "mythical creature" for that is surely what they are and the terminology should, hopefully, offend no one.
While i agree with you that language is indeed flexible, the word "Deity" refers to the divine no matter how you cut it or which of its multiple meanings we apply. It is from the word "Deus" which quite literally means "god". There is no other way to look at it. Really…
http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/u...n_english/deity
I do really hope we can ALL just let this go now as it seems a bit like wagging the dog to me. BTW, it was not your "avalanche of words" that i was referring to in my previous post.
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Old 13th March 2014, 10:29 PM   #102
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Thanks David, at last we agree on some stuff!!! and the mythical creature term seems a most applicable one. I recognize the root word from the Latin 'deus' (oh oh, I admit, it was on Wiki and that it does apply to divinity, so the application does become tenuous when applied to the creatures ( in Texas terminology 'critters') which are subordinate or supportive to the properly recognized deities.
Thanks for the note on the avalanches, and I admit I feel a bit sensitive on that..after all I am seldom brief ya think????
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Old 13th March 2014, 10:31 PM   #103
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
... It is from the word "Deus" which quite literally means "god"...

Wait a minute
Deus is precisely how we spell God in portuguese; you could have asked me that one .

Quote:
Originally Posted by David

BTW, it was not your "avalanche of words" that i was referring to in my previous post.

Jim knows that; but he is a true chevalier
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Old 13th March 2014, 10:34 PM   #104
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Ah ... cross posts within two minutes flat
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Old 14th March 2014, 05:20 PM   #105
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Salaams all ~ An interesting excursion and vignette into the cultural and traditional influence of the Portuguese upon Sri Lanka is nicely outlined at http://www.lusotopie.sciencespobord.../jayasuriya.pdf

Perhaps more to the point...an outline of the Gannoruwa battle in which the Portuguese were routed is at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:K...608-1687%29.jpg and artwork already recorded at forum showing the type of sword is recorded there... Although this is relatively updated artwork it does appear to have been copied from a 1693 book thus may well be accurate and in describing the lodgement of the kings sword "A Kastane" in the national shrine ...after the battle.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

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Old 15th March 2014, 02:17 PM   #106
Prasanna Weerakkody
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Some additional images with kasthana to add to Ibrahiim's - from Herport 1669 (drummers) and Knox 1681 the Knox illustrations were done by an artist in Europe with instructions from the author so the limitations in the similarity of the Kasthana can be attributed to that; as similar mild omissions are seen in other aspects of the illustration as well, but the lion headed hilt and the typical Kasthana scabbard is distinct in the illustration

regards

Prasanna
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Old 15th March 2014, 03:46 PM   #107
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prasanna Weerakkody
... but the lion headed hilt and the typical Kasthana scabbard is distinct in the illustration ...

But not the lower recurved (fake) quillons
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Old 15th March 2014, 04:02 PM   #108
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prasanna Weerakkody
Some additional images with kasthana to add to Ibrahiim's - from Herport 1669 (drummers) and Knox 1681 the Knox illustrations were done by an artist in Europe with instructions from the author so the limitations in the similarity of the Kasthana can be attributed to that; as similar mild omissions are seen in other aspects of the illustration as well, but the lion headed hilt and the typical Kasthana scabbard is distinct in the illustration

regards

Prasanna



Salaams Prasanna ~ Excellent artwork in support of this entire document. As you point out however this is "directed artwork" but nontheless important since it does show the king with his Kastane and I assume the same weapon that was donated to the shrine. The artwork of similar detail at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:K...608-1687%29.jpg also shows the monumental and ornate "sash" which also appears down the centuries from which the Kastane is hung. It would be interesting to determine at what point or bracket in time the blade of the Kastane changed from straight to curved...and in a previous post you alluded to that phenomena...
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Old 15th March 2014, 05:11 PM   #109
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Fernando; I believe that is an omission by the artist who had not seen the kasthana himself. Similar errors abound in his work but there is also much that can be corroborated with known sources to give a level of credibility to the material included.

Ibrahiim the image of King Rajasinge II is also from Knox- and by the same artist as the illustration I included. both the I and II Rajasinhe’s had a habit of donating swords to both Buddhist and Hindu temples as tokens of battle victories. but from what I have seen is quite often these turn out to be Portuguese swords possibly belonging to the vanquished enemy captains. I am not sure if King Rajasinghe II sword has properly been identified in collections yet. Knox remained a captive in Kandy for near 2 decades and had audience with the King on many occasions- so his description could be believed

Regards

Prasanna
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Old 15th March 2014, 05:16 PM   #110
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Ibrahiim; Just to note that except in the case of Kings and then later era mudelliers serving under colonial masters- Kashane was not worn on a sash, but hung from the belt usually with a spring loaded clip or a loop on the scabbard.


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Old 15th March 2014, 05:58 PM   #111
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prasanna Weerakkody
Ibrahiim; Just to note that except in the case of Kings and then later era mudelliers serving under colonial masters- Kashane was not worn on a sash, but hung from the belt usually with a spring loaded clip or a loop on the scabbard.


Prasanna


Salaams Prasanne ~ Thank you for the detail. As you clearly realise...researching this topic "as an outsider" hits the wall at about three quarters the way through the first colonial period and huge gaps are apparent in our understanding ~not least the disruption of locally produced blades~ and in trying to identify the starting grid for the original Kastane design etc . Here is a perfect example of that misunderstanding... The appearance on artwork of the sash and later Kastane being worn in a similar fashion, yet, unbeknown to outside researchers the fact as you describe above. Thank you also for the Knox detail.

There is an interesting note in a description of Knox in captivity which states:

Quote " Describing the King’s palace, he says: "I will not adventure to declare further the contents of his treasuries, lest I may be guilty of a mistake. " Unquote.

That I find a great pity since he did not spend half an afternoon describing the Kastane!! If only?

Readers can see a full account at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Knox_%28sailor%29 and many others simply by keying in "Knox in Sri Lanka"..interesting that his adventures inspired Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe ..


Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

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Old 16th March 2014, 03:50 AM   #112
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Including an image carved by a Portuguese artist currently at the Maha Saman Devala (temple) premises in Rathnapura. the stone carving depict the Portuguese captain slaying a local chief. There is some doubt as to who is the fallen warrior, (may be Fernando or someone versed in Portuguese could attempt to decipher the attached text. ) interestingly the fallen warrior carries a lion headed- single edged blade with similarities to Kasthana. the guards and quillons are not clear- either due to not being present, hidden or artists omissions. The image is dated circa 1610-1650

Regards

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Old 16th March 2014, 03:53 PM   #113
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prasanna Weerakkody
Including an image carved by a Portuguese artist currently at the Maha Saman Devala (temple) premises in Rathnapura. the stone carving depict the Portuguese captain slaying a local chief. There is some doubt as to who is the fallen warrior, (may be Fernando or someone versed in Portuguese could attempt to decipher the attached text. ) interestingly the fallen warrior carries a lion headed- single edged blade with similarities to Kasthana. the guards and quillons are not clear- either due to not being present, hidden or artists omissions. The image is dated circa 1610-1650

Regards

Prasanna



Salaams Prasanna..Tantalising also is the shape of the blade...Whose form is so similar to the Sendai Museum blade...!!

I place below a Knox addition showing the warrior to the right with an apparent Kastane also.

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Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 16th March 2014, 04:12 PM   #114
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At forst sight, this is more a problem of visibility than one of language. Sadly most words are unreadable in the picture.
But i can advance Prasana that, this may not be a slay scene but a surrender one.
I think i discern the letters that compose "surrender" or its derivations (Render, Rendição) and, if you look at the picture with such focusing, you will realize this seems to make some sense. Maybe also the word India can be read ?
I promise i will burn my eyelashes to go deeper into this... and also spot some citation to a surrender in the pages i can access.

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Old 16th March 2014, 05:43 PM   #115
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Salaams All.. A note on Iron Production which though it may have been slowed and disrupted by Colonial interference through cheaper imports was by no means totally stopped..Knox writes ~

Quote " Their Manufactures are few: some Callicoes, not so fine as good strong Cloth for their own use: all manner of Iron Tools for Smiths, and Carpenters, and Husbandmen: all sorts of earthen ware to boil, stew, fry and fetch water in, Goldsmith’s work, Painter’s Work, carved work, making Steel, and good Guns, and the like.

But their Art in ordering the Iron-Stone and making Iron, may deserve to be a little insisted on. For the Countrey affords plenty of Iron, which they make of Stones, that are in several places of the Land; they lay not very deep in the ground, it may be, about four or five or six foot deep.

How they make Iron.First, They take these Stones, and lay them in an heap, and burn them with wood, which makes them more soft and fitter for the Furnace. When they have so done they have a kind of Furnace, made with a white sort of Clay, wherein they put a quantity of Charcoal, and then these Stones on them, and on the top more Charcoal. There is a back to the Furnace, like as there is to a Smith’s Forge, behind which the man stands that blows, the use of which back is to keep the heat of the fire from him. Behind the Furnace they have two logs of Wood placed fast in the ground, hollow at the top, like two pots. Upon the mouths of these two pieces of hollow wood they tie a piece of a Deers Skin, on each pot a piece, with a small hole as big as a man’s finger in each skin. In the middle of each skin a little beside the holes are two strings tied fast to as many sticks stuck in the ground, like a Spring, bending like a bow. This pulls the skin upwards. The man that blows stand with his feet, one on each pot, covering each hole with the soles of his feet. And as he treads on one pot, and presseth the skin down, he takes his foot off the other, which presently by the help of the Spring riseth; and the doing so alternately conveys a great quantity of wind thro the Pipes into the Furnace. For there are also two Pipes made of hollow reed let in to the sides of the Pots, that are to conduct the wind, like the nose of a Bellows, into the Furnace.

For the ease of the Blower, there is a strap, that is fastned to two posts, and comes round behind him, on which he leans his back: and he has a stick laid cross-ways before him, on which he lays both his hands, and so he blows with greater ease. As the Stones are thus burning, the dross that is in them melts and runs out at the bottom, where there is a slanting hole made for the purpose so big as the lump of Iron may pass thro: out of this hole, I say, runs out the dross like streams of fire, and the Iron remains behind. Which when it is purified, as they think, enough, so that there comes no more dross away, they drive this lump of Iron thro the same sloping hole. Then they give it a chop with an Ax half thro, and so sling it into the water. They so chop it, that it may be seen that it is good, Iron for the Satisfaction of those that are minded to buy". Unquote.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 16th March 2014, 06:41 PM   #116
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Default Kastane and Piha Kheata (I assume). Worn by Nobles.

Salaams All, At last a description by Knox in his book which can be fully read on line at...

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/14346

and in which he describes the nobility and what they wear..viz;

Quote"The Nobles in their best Apparel.The Habit of the men when they appear abroad is after this sort. The Nobles wear Doublets of white or blew Callico, and about their middle a cloth, a white one next their skin, and a blew one or of some other colour or painted, over the white: a blew or shash girt about their loyns, and a Knife with a carved handle wrought or inlaid with Silver sticking in their bosom; and a compleat short Hanger carved and inlaid with Brass and Silver by their sides, the Scabbard most part covered with Silver; bravely ingraven; a painted Cane and sometimes a Tuck in it in their hands, and a boy always bare-headed with long hair hanging down his back waiting upon him, ever holding a small bag in his hand, which is instead of a Pocket, wherein is Betel-leaves and nuts. Which they constantly keep chewing in their mouths, with Lime kept in a Silver Box rarely engraven, which commonly they hold in their hands, in shape like a Silver Watch". Unquote.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 16th March 2014, 06:47 PM   #117
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Default By the way

Tell me Prasana: Why do you call the Portuguese soldier a Captain ... do you know he had such rank, or you just used term in a abstract manner ?
I amalso curious in that, when i saved the images to 'work' on them, the name shown in them was "Pinhão" for the first one, "Pinhão-sword" for the second and "Pinhão-inscription" for the third. Just for curiosity, i browsed on Pinhão in Ceylon and i found a Captain Fernão Pinhão whom, under command of Captain-General Jorge de Albuquerque was in charge of the reinforcement works of the fortification of Galle, by 1623.
I notice that Rathnapura is not so far from Galle.
Most probably this is a coincidence ... interesting, nevertheless

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Old 16th March 2014, 09:09 PM   #118
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Thumbs up There is no smoke without fire

So the Captain was indeed Pinhão; not Fernão but Simão.
And, as i have previously discerned, both words SURRENDER and INDIA are in the inscription .


Say Prasanna, did you know this paper ?


The inscribed mural stone at Maha Saman Devale, Ratnapura by Donald Ferguson (1899).

... Let into a niche in the basement of the raised quadrangle, a little to
the north of the flight of steps leading from the outer courtyard, is a
mural stone of some historic value, and of singular interest from the
strange and unexpected position in which it is found. On it, sculptured
in bold relief, are two figures about half the size of life. They
represent the closing event of a mortal combat between a Portuguese,
armed cap-a-pie, and a Sinhalese warrior. Conquered in the encounter,
the latter has been stricken down ; his sword and shield are cast
despairingly aside ; and his antagonist, trampling under foot his pros-
trate form, is now with one final blow about to deprive him of his life.
The inscription below, partly in Roman and partly in Sinhalese
characters, is so much effaced as to be only very partially readable ;.
some portions of the figures are also damaged, seemingly from the action
of the weather upon the stone. The whole is, however, most spiritedly-
executed, and enough of the inscription remains to show that the name
of the Portuguese soldier was Gomez. The Sinhalese say the prostrate
warrior was their champion, one Kuruwita Bandara, a dreaded enemy
of the Portuguese, whose soldiers he had repeatedly cut off, and that
some fifty had fallen by his hand ere he himself was slain. The
sculpture was no doubt executed in Europe by royal or vice-regal
command, and sent hither to do honour to the soldier whose valorous
deed it commemorated.
The above is the only reference to this stone that I have met
with in the many writers on Ceylon — Portuguese, Dutch, and
English — whose works I have searched for information
regarding it ; and yet it is undoubtedly some three centuries
old ; though how long it has heen in its present position,
and whether it was originally placed near the spot it now
occupies, are questions which may well arise in one's mind.
Mr. Skeen's description contains several errors. I think
it more probable that the sculpture was executed in Ceylon,
where there would be no lack of artists in the Portuguese
ranks competent for the work. There are no Sinhalese
characters in the inscription, which is entirely in Portuguese.
Moreover the name of the Portuguese warrior (who is
hardly " armed cap-a-pie") was not Gomez, though any one
ignorant of Portuguese might easily conclude so from
deciphering the first few letters-.
The inscription, so far as I have been able to decipher it,
is as follows (I expand the contractions, and separate the
combined letters): —

COM • EST A* • RENDl • ESTEf * HA ■ 23J ■ ANNOS • QVE ■
ANDO • NA • INDIA • E • HA ■ 15 J • QVE • SIRVO • DE • CA
PITAO • E • TAOQVE§ • OS • REIS ... DE ... E • ■ REI ■
DE • IAFANAPATAO • EV- SIMAO- PINHAO • VENCI

* Scil. espada. f Scil. homem, J Conjectural. § Or ao que 1

Transcript:

[Com esta rendi este, ha 23 (?) annos que ando na India, e ha 15 (?)
que sirvo de capitao ; e taoque (?) os reis...de... (?) e o rei de
Jafanapatao, eu Simao Pinhao o venci.]

Translation:

With this [sword] I overcame this [man], it being 23 (?) years that
I have been in India, and 15 (?) that I have served as captain ; and as
soon as (?) the kings and the king of Jafanapatao, I, Simao Pinhao, conquered him. "
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Old 17th March 2014, 02:45 AM   #119
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Yes it is known that the Portuguese warrior was Pinhao. Thanks Fernando for putting much time in to this. I had not seen this particular paper but seen Similar ones. there are 3 interpretations circulating so I was interested in trying to get some independant confirmation. , some say it is Samarakoon rala/Kuruwita Bandara others say it was Rathnayaka mudiyanse and 3rd it was the king of Jaffna. each interpretation given by people with good standing, so only the text shall say for sure. The key is if the word Jaffnapato is really there that will rule out the other two.

There was a Portuguese fort for a time close to the Saman devale premises. this was possibly erected there and later moved to the devale after destruction of the fort. Sri Lanka is a small country so warriors were deployed all over the place.

Regards and thanks

Prasanna
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Old 17th March 2014, 06:23 PM   #120
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Salaams All...

The Sendai Museum exhibits a potentially original early Kastane blade see http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=14998 where the weapon is discussed in depth...collected intact, by chance in the Philipines, by the Japanese diplomat and Samurai Hasekura Tsunenaga and this may be backed up by the stone carving with identical form below and expertly presented at post #112.

The Storta style of blade whilst intriguing, puzzling and stunning!! may have been introduced earlier, though, that is pure conjecture but in line with the hypothesis on European blade diffusion / the Moors /etc.

The interesting reverse theory that this shape of blade may in fact be of the early home grown form and occasionally favoured by warriors without the Vajra Quillons perhaps so that the index finger could be looped over the guard for added purchase power on the thick backblade? Perhaps quillons were optional?

(Though it is not without possibility that this was simply artistic stone carvers artistic impression the other details in the carving seem very accurate)

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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