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 17th March 2014, 08:08 PM   #121
fernando
Lead Moderator European Armoury
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 6,335
Default

Hello again Prasanna

I am beginning to learn that the interpretation of this mural stone has been a largely divulgated enigma; which makes me feel a dwarf among so many specialists, versus whom i, a non schooled person, wouldn't dare to contradict.
But ...
Although the character of Simão Pinhão (Fernão's oncle) appears to be of no doubt, the Cingala warrior individual and his situation in the scene is still a mistery. So much because the text mentions more than one King and, the posture of the Portuguese Captain, i humbly insist, is that of imposing submission and not of execution.
An atemptive translation of the text reminds us that Pinhão is (only) defeating his adversary. While he says that "with this i render this", he doesn't say i am executing or executed this; if he had in fact killed the warrior, why wouldn't he prefer the stone sculpted with such final image ?
An exponential example of this is one provided by a source that pretends that Pinhão is rescuing from death the successor of the King of Jaffna ... whatever this statement is worth :
(QUOTING) In 1591 the king of Jafnna was unwise enough to attack Mannar, and in consequence lost his life and throne at the hands of the Portuguese under Andre Furtado. His successor, whose rescue from death by Simao Pinhao is depicted on the mural tablet at the Saman Dewale near Ratnapura, was the creature of Portugal, and from 1593 there were only two powers in the island, the Kandyans under Vimala Dharma Surya and the Portuguese notninally fighting for Dharmapala;. the latter, as we have seen, had taken Sitawaka and recovered most of the old dominions of Kotte with such ease that in.. 1594 they proposed to annex the highland kingdom and place on the throne Dona Catharina, the daughter, of the king expelled by Rajasinha. Pedro Lopes De Sousa, the first `Captain General of the Conquest,' succeeded in entering Kandy, and enthroned the princess. But he alienated the people by surrounding the young queen with Portuguese. Further, Manamperi was suspected of treason and slain; his levies thereupon deserted, and the expedition ended in disaster in the neighbourhood of Gannoruwa. The general was killed and Dona Catharina fell into the hands of Vimala Dharma Surya, who perfected his title by marrying the heiress of Kandy. The `Apostate of Candea' treated the captive Portuguese with great cruelty, mutilating fifty of them and sending these to Colombo `with one eye for each five (END QUOTING).
The other "confusion" is that Pinhão mentions various Kings in the text. Although the deciphering does not reveal the name of them all, we clearly read OS REIS DE meaning the plural for Kings (*) ... this before mentioning the last King, such one considered to be the one subjugated in the scene.
(*) Could one be the King of Uva ?
Another touch up in the translation would be that he mentions that he has "defeated" or "beaten" (the King or Kings) ... perhaps better terms than "conquered".
Concerning the inclusion of the name of Jaffanapatão (Jaffnapatan), even with the help of the decipherings already published i am not qualified to assure the word is there ... although it looks plausible, certainly more plausible than the other possibilities suggested. Besides the erosion of the stone, translations of (early) texts are (also) contextual, hence worthy of a specialist. I have read that Donald Ferguson is intimate with the portuguese language.
One possibility i haven't yet heard of, which being a remote one is not necessarily implausible, is that the scene depicted may only be a virtual (symbolic) one, commissioned by a presumptuous Pinhão, based on his feats. Symbolism also exists; somehow like the multiple attribution of the Cingalese warrior in the scene.
But coming back to the topic of the thread, which is the Kasthane, the sword in the hands of the Cingala (Kandyan) warrior looks more like a calachurro


-
Attached Images
 
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th March 2014, 01:08 PM   #122
David
Keris forum moderator
 
David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: The Great Midwest
Posts: 5,283
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
But coming back to the topic of the thread, which is the Kasthane, the sword in the hands of the Cingala (Kandyan) warrior looks more like a calachurro

Wouldn't it be a bit long for a calachurro. I believe you recently cited a source from 1685 that put the length of those knives at 2 1/2 palms long.
David is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th March 2014, 02:39 PM   #123
fernando
Lead Moderator European Armoury
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 6,335
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by David
Wouldn't it be a bit long for a calachurro. I believe you recently cited a source from 1685 that put the length of those knives at 2 1/2 palms long.

C'mon David
Let me put up some fantasy. Artists had their freedom ... more often towards exagerating than minimizing things. Just trying to justify myself .
... And i thought the palm measure was secret data .
Speaking seriously, my approach was more to the sword not being a Kasthane ... as we are presently given to know its design
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th March 2014, 10:21 PM   #124
David
Keris forum moderator
 
David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: The Great Midwest
Posts: 5,283
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
C'mon David
Let me put up some fantasy. Artists had their freedom ... more often towards exagerating than minimizing things. Just trying to justify myself

Absolutely Nando, fantasize away…this is certainly a good thread for fantasy.
…and i agree, a lion-headed pommel no more makes a sword a kasthana as a wavy blade makes a dagger a keris though i wouldn't count out that this sword may have been of a form that had some influence on the development of the kasthana as we know it.
David is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19th March 2014, 06:35 AM   #125
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,926
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default

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, As you say some say it is Samarakoon rala/Kuruwita Bandara others say it was Rathnayaka mudiyanse... however do you draw anything from the similarity in sword which appears to have many Kastane characteristics and tantalizing in its parallels with the Sendai Museum item? The more I think about the fact of the broad Storta like blade the more I consider this form as a possible shape to the early (15/16thC Kastane.) Such a famous and respected Sri Lankan Warrior could easily have dispensed with the quillons and guard for his personal weapon of choice; The Kastane.

For interest I note from another Forum the possibility/hypothesis that the Kastane hilt was crossed onto other blade forms as a matter of preference in the early European days of the Portuguese period.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 19th March 2014 at 09:26 AM.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19th March 2014, 05:04 PM   #126
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 6,651
Default

It is excellent that this thread is moving along so well, and I especially appreciate the constructive and well observed contributions by Prasanna, Fernando and Ibrahiim. It is most helpful that along with Prasanna's well established experience in this fascinating history are the researched entries by Fernando and Ibrahiim which has enabled some great questions and perspective.

I am inclined to agree with Fernando in thinking that this late 16th century frieze was probably fashioned by a Portuguese artist there in Ceylon.
It is important to note that artists have always been inclined to a degree of latitude in 'spinning' their works toward the perception intended for their theme. I think in this case the Portuguese soldier is well depicted as is the arming sword he is wielding. With this in mind, it would seem that the sword of the Sinhalese chief would be equally accurate in its depiction, and with that I believe that the blade does remarkably correspond to heavy, single edged straight falchion type forms, indeed as seen on some storta.

In reviewing Deraniyagala, there is mention of early Sinhalese swords notably including a single edged form along with contemporary double edged forms. It is noted that these single edged forms apparently had a truncated tip recalling those of Japanese swords. I do not mention this to allude to any connection to Japanese swords, and the comment is as a point of comparison noting the attention to the blade tip. In these heavy, storta/falchion type blades there is considerable attention to a protracted radius to afford better slashing potential.

It is also noted in Deraniyagala that the kasthana which developed as a ceremonial sword of rank did differ from the less embellished combat types of course. As we have discussed, the quillons found in the more familiar guard system seen on kasthana are vestigial elements which were not in place for swordsmanship or combat purposes, so it would seem understandable that a combat version as seen here may likely have been without them. More interesting is the presence of what indeed appears a zoomorphic head on the pommel, and the suggestion that such iconic presence could be placed in the period when this frieze was carved.

Concerning the reference to the weapon termed calachurro, in going through one reference which I believe has been mentioned ('Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society' #46, 1895-1896) the author states that in the Kandyan region there is no such term, but it is unclear whether the reference might allude to another weapon. In Knox's Sinhalese vocabulary it is noted that they did carry a small, short sabre with slight curve.

In analyzing contemporary narratives or later recounting of them, there is perhaps even more danger or 'fantasy' involved in interpretation than in the visual reading of artwork. This is of course due to semantics and local parlances and colloquial use for various descriptive terms.

Such are the conundrums and issues we typically encounter as we use the resources and material at hand to investigate evidence and clues using them to formulate ideas and observations. Though sometimes seeming somewhat fanciful or 'fantastic' , these are always pertinent and valid in varying degree, and here we consider it constructive research, which indeed well describes the texture of our thread.
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th March 2014, 06:44 PM   #127
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,926
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default

Now heres a funny thing ! From http://www.huntspost.co.uk/news/lat...seum_1_89 6806

Quote "Historians think the handles, part of a new exhibition on the battle of Naseby at Cromwell Museum, were found at the battlefield in Northamptonshire, where Oliver Cromwell’s forces defeated the Royalists in 1645.

The owner of the swords and their presence at the battle remains a mystery, but the handles were mounted as a carving knife and fork set in the 19th century.

Curator John Goldsmith said: “We can only suggest that one of the handles was lost on the field at Naseby, and then re-used for the carving set. But who was the owner on that violent day in 1645? We may never know. Please come along and find out more about this important battle that happened on Huntingdon’s doorstep and form your own theories.”

INFORMATION: The Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10.30am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 4pm. Admission is free".Unquote

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
Attached Images
 

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 30th March 2014 at 07:00 PM.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th March 2014, 06:49 PM   #128
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,926
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default



Could these have been court swords\ worn on the Armour similar to the Popham?

Ibrahiim al Balooshi ~
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th March 2014, 06:50 PM   #129
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,926
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default

Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th March 2014, 10:41 PM   #130
spiral
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,712
Default

Well often people who believe curators blindly are nearly as daft as those who believe arms dealers {or anyone else who works in sales, or has a vested interest that increases there personal wealth... secondhand car dealers, electrical goods salesmen etc.etc.}....{ Of course excluding & Excepting all respected members of this forum of course... }


Here's a early & "rare antique Gurkha kukri" in a secure museum area, gifted to them by police who had seized it...

Strange really it looks like 70s or 80s export crap to me...

But oddest of all is really, how scary & horror B movieish curators & police look together...

spiral


spiral is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31st March 2014, 03:30 PM   #131
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,926
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default

Salaams... Indeed Museums do come in for a certain degree of poked fun.. however, such is the rarity of Kastane turning up early in UK circles that perhaps these are vintage Cromwellian, and though this tiny museum is on the fringe ... It does claim to be the Oliver Cromwell Museum... and artefacts in it appear to be from that period. If anyone is in the area... a quick visit may be suggested... apparently it is so small a half hour is sufficient to absorb the content. It would be interesting to discover the facts about these two Kastane... most peculiar ! It may be about to close... maybe they will sell the objects cheap...

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd April 2014, 06:58 PM   #132
fernando
Lead Moderator European Armoury
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 6,335
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by spiral
... But oddest of all is really, how scary & horror B movieish curators & police look together... ...

Scary?
We sure have different perspectives, Jonathan; they look pathetic to me .
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd April 2014, 04:20 PM   #133
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,926
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default

Salaams all... Well that was an interesting interlude. Shall we bring the guns to bare on the main target ?... The Kastane .. I have tried in vain to raise the Cromwellian Museum but the curator was last seen carrying a huge bundle of swords in the direction of the local souk..."Any Old Iron" !! was his call...
I consider decorative Kastane style here and bring another item of beautiful hand carved Ivory as a sample of excellent artesan production..
Here is an Ivory Sri Lankan box... hand carved in identical fashion to the swirls of the Makara tail often incorporated into Kastana hilts...

The one with the Iconic Zoomorphic style is described as ~

Such cabinets were produced in Ceylon (present day Sri Lanka) off the western coast of India on commission from Portuguese traders for the European market by the mid 16th century.

The shape and function are European, but the subject and style of the elaborate carving, including perforation of the ivory plaques that make it up, are characteristic of Ceylon.

The plaques of ivory are carved in low relief, backed by sheets of tortoise shell and with silver fittings (corner pieces, rivets, key plates, original key and handles).

On the front, the upper drawer is decorated with confronted lions spewing scrolls enclosed in borders of quatrefoils and beading; the lower two drawers have key plates and scrolling, with identical borders.

On the sides are square central panels with winged leonine fantastic creatures with reptilian scaled tails (serapendiyas) enclosed in borders surrouned by scrolling and framed with borders.

On the top are two confronted leonine creatures, similar to those on the sides, enclosed in beaded ovals and scrollwork, further enclosed in a border with outer scrolling and border.

On the back is an oblong field with fragment of leonine creature enclosed in beaded frame with elaborate scrolling and border.

The underside is composed of plain ivory.

There is also a small section of border in the upper drawer.

So as not to be out done by the Cromwellian Museum I also sourced a carving set with Lionesque Sri Lankan Icons for hilts...Maybe the hilts shown earlier were previously swords on 'Armour Cromwellian' after all !

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
Attached Images
     

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 3rd April 2014 at 06:04 PM.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th April 2014, 06:02 PM   #134
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,926
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default Decorative Style~ The Kastane.

Salaams all...

In observing further Kastane decorative style and refering to http://www.craftrevival.org/Extrali...PageCode=P00014 as a guide... perhaps the most relevant source of inspiration on design flows from the Piha Kheata form (both ways?) ...The two seem inextricably linked.

Images from http://members.tripod.com/~images_of_ceylon/arms.html
and http://www.caravanacollection.com/project/kastane-sword

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
Attached Images
        

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 4th April 2014 at 06:18 PM.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th April 2014, 09:08 PM   #135
spiral
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,712
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Scary?
We sure have different perspectives, Jonathan; they look pathetic to me .



Fair enough Fernando! You brave hero!

I can just imagine booking into a rural hotel, on a stormy night that these 3 run, but I guess you haven't seen the old English hammer house of horror b movies..

No real loss.

But of course it may just be your brave Mediterranean machismo that would deal with the potential Perverted cannibal zombie vampires without even a slight hastening of the heart beat.



spiral
spiral is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th April 2014, 09:15 PM   #136
spiral
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,712
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
So as not to be out done by the Cromwellian Museum I also sourced a carving set with Lionesque Sri Lankan Icons for hilts...Maybe the hilts shown earlier were previously swords on 'Armour Cromwellian' after all !

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/attac...id=119301&stc=1
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.


I don't believe there Sri Lankan? Any evidence?

Spiral
spiral is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th April 2014, 02:58 AM   #137
Prasanna Weerakkody
Member
 
Prasanna Weerakkody's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Sri Lanka
Posts: 49
Default

one of the images included by Ibrahiim in the collection of Ivory caskets is of particular interest and relevance in a different way to the topic in question- I quote from - “A catalogue of Antiquities and other cultural objects from Sri Lanka (Ceylon) Abroad” - De Silva P.H.D.H.- Ivory casket no 1241 presently at Schatzkammer Der Residenz, Munich.

“In 1506 the Portuguese occupied Ceylon (“Sinhala Dvipa”) ; the island was then ruled by several kings, dominated by an Emperor. According to W. Sloman, Emperor Buwaneka Bahu (1521-51) did not want his brother Mayadunne but his grandson Dharmapala to become his successor. To receive the support of his fief master, the Portuguese King, for this plan, Buwaneka bahu sent in 1542 a delegation to Lisbon. There exists two descriptions about the delegation… According to one report (appr 1630) The delegate delivered two ivory statues, representing the emperor and the prince proposed for the succession to the throne; according to the other report (appr. 1687) the gifts presented to the Portuguese court consisted of a crown set with gems and a statue of massive gold representing Dharmapala (then about three years old) in natural height. after the fief -oath in effigy had been taken on behalf of this prince, Don Juan III of Portugal crowned the statue as a sign of acknowledgement of the succession to the throne”

The Ivory casket illustrates the events in detail from the coronation of King Buwaneka bahu to birth of the prince Dharmapala (Dom Juan) to the bringing of the effigy of the prince to Portugal and the crowning of the statue by King of Portugal.

The importance of this casket to the forum is in the depiction of many Sinhala arms including swords in a datable context at the time of the Portuguese wars and also coinciding or slightly predating with the time of the advent of the Kasthana as we know currently. yet no Kasthana swords can be observed in the collection depicted. even the royal sword used by King Buwanekabahu in his coronation seem to be a double edged blade of the common gladius type weapon of the time but longer. But it must be noted that the earliest specifically datable Kasthana swords are linked to the Mulleriyawela battle in 1559.

The images are of poor quality- may I make a general appeal if any forum member in that part of the world is able to get access to the specimen that we may be able to get some better photographs of the Item.

regards

prasanna
Attached Images
      
Prasanna Weerakkody is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th April 2014, 03:03 AM   #138
Prasanna Weerakkody
Member
 
Prasanna Weerakkody's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Sri Lanka
Posts: 49
Default

missed one- the coronation of King Buwanekabahu
Attached Images
 
Prasanna Weerakkody is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th April 2014, 05:15 PM   #139
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,926
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by spiral
I don't believe there Sri Lankan? Any evidence?

Spiral


Salaams Spiral ~ Do you mean ...is there evidence that the two Horn? hilts in the Cromwellian Museum made into carvers are real... Im certain they are...but I dont know if they were at the Royalist Battle...On the other hand do you mean the two Ivory Lionesque Icons made into carvers ... I suspect they are and part of the trade in Ivory items imported into Europe by the Portuguese.

If, however, you have any evidence to prove that they (in either case) are not, please go ahead and outline the details.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th April 2014, 05:58 PM   #140
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,926
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prasanna Weerakkody
one of the images included by Ibrahiim in the collection of Ivory caskets is of particular interest and relevance in a different way to the topic in question- I quote from - “A catalogue of Antiquities and other cultural objects from Sri Lanka (Ceylon) Abroad” - De Silva P.H.D.H.- Ivory casket no 1241 presently at Schatzkammer Der Residenz, Munich.

“In 1506 the Portuguese occupied Ceylon (“Sinhala Dvipa”) ; the island was then ruled by several kings, dominated by an Emperor. According to W. Sloman, Emperor Buwaneka Bahu (1521-51) did not want his brother Mayadunne but his grandson Dharmapala to become his successor. To receive the support of his fief master, the Portuguese King, for this plan, Buwaneka bahu sent in 1542 a delegation to Lisbon. There exists two descriptions about the delegation… According to one report (appr 1630) The delegate delivered two ivory statues, representing the emperor and the prince proposed for the succession to the throne; according to the other report (appr. 1687) the gifts presented to the Portuguese court consisted of a crown set with gems and a statue of massive gold representing Dharmapala (then about three years old) in natural height. after the fief -oath in effigy had been taken on behalf of this prince, Don Juan III of Portugal crowned the statue as a sign of acknowledgement of the succession to the throne”

The Ivory casket illustrates the events in detail from the coronation of King Buwaneka bahu to birth of the prince Dharmapala (Dom Juan) to the bringing of the effigy of the prince to Portugal and the crowning of the statue by King of Portugal.

The importance of this casket to the forum is in the depiction of many Sinhala arms including swords in a datable context at the time of the Portuguese wars and also coinciding or slightly predating with the time of the advent of the Kasthana as we know currently. yet no Kasthana swords can be observed in the collection depicted. even the royal sword used by King Buwanekabahu in his coronation seem to be a double edged blade of the common gladius type weapon of the time but longer. But it must be noted that the earliest specifically datable Kasthana swords are linked to the Mulleriyawela battle in 1559.

The images are of poor quality- may I make a general appeal if any forum member in that part of the world is able to get access to the specimen that we may be able to get some better photographs of the Item.

regards

prasanna



Salaams Prasanna, Thank you for your excellent addition to this thread. If I may... I would like to leave the idea of the weapons depicted til later... I need to research those and to see if the controlled artistic impression was such that only ancient weapons were depicted...and how or who would decide what weapons to show... I simply don't know. Perhaps it was purely traditional to show certain sword types but not others...?

I have to say it was pure luck that I posted this casket though being a collector of such items I was very impressed by the craftsmanship and the striking similarities in design on Kastane... and in fact other weapons including the folliage effect carved into long guns at the butt.

Fortuitously your post places the important battle of Mulleriyawela and as presented at http://www.mulleriyawa.org/EN/index.htm which inclues an interesting and atmospheric enacted series of fight scenes involving the Kastane etc. If the situation described is true it places that date as the earliest date of this weapons appearance and since it appears as an associated weapon of Angampora (Angagaratha herala), though, the battle was said to be circa 1560... if the weapon was from the Angampora stable it must have been more ancient; The martial arts of Sri Lanka go back around 30,000 years.

I have difficulty trying to reconcile the weapon with anything European ...in particular Portuguese since they were the agressor\invader and a weapon such as the Kastane is associated with relatively high Sri Lankan historic and religious entity. It simply makes no sense to either design a weapon and\or give it a Portuguese name when it held such a place of high esteem inside the Sri Lankan psyche.

My take on this sword (though I cannot rule out influence) is that it gets its design from an ancient Sri Lankan group of decorations and ideas though perhaps fused with something the Moors /traders imported earlier or which difused regionally...but from which direction? There are powerful suggestions that Javanese hilts have a place in the story (not to mention the broad effects from decorative Buddhist and Hindu form via India etc). Further , that through the martial arts system this style has been rooted in Sri Lankan history long before the entry by the first colonial power, The Portuguese, entered the equation.

I think we are now pressing hard on the Kastane origin of species though it may never be fully uncovered.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 5th April 2014 at 06:10 PM.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th April 2014, 06:01 PM   #141
fernando
Lead Moderator European Armoury
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 6,335
Default

Hi Prasanna,
Amazing how distinguishable are both Sinhalese and Portuguese swords in the scene with the King and the delegate. This is a good sign that the artist knew what he was doing.
Speaking of which ... You must be aware that the coronation scene you uploaded in the second post is part of a second casket, also presently exhibited in the same museum, with inventory number 1242 (the previous one is 1241). I deeply regret not being able to get better pictures of these caskets, but still would like to post here a scene sculpted in cask 1242, which apparently was offered by Ceylon Royalty to Portuguese Vice-Roy in India, showing a local ritual of allegiance, in which both Lord and vassal swords are of the 'Gladius' type, as in the other cask.

.
Attached Images
   
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th April 2014, 08:15 AM   #142
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,926
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default

[QUOTE=Prasanna Weerakkody]
yet no Kasthana swords can be observed in the collection depicted. even the royal sword used by King Buwanekabahu in his coronation seem to be a double edged blade of the common gladius type weapon of the time but longer.


Salaams Prasanna ~ I note all you say regarding this group of gifts ... and have one question regarding the absence of the Kastane.. As in the depiction of many carvings either in Ivory or stone I notice that only the ancient forms are presented. This is certainly the case in Indian statues and scenes and I believe this was because each God presented had His / Her own weapon thus it was always illustrated as such. Was this not the same in Sri Lankan carving practice?

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th April 2014, 05:02 AM   #143
Prasanna Weerakkody
Member
 
Prasanna Weerakkody's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Sri Lanka
Posts: 49
Default

Fernando, yes both caskets are included in the catalogue I copied the images from. I forgot to mention that it was from the second one. The image accuracy seem quite good judging from other elements depicted. so swords are also most probably accurate. In the second image at the top (plate 18) there are two panels in the upper row that depict gladiators. one pair carry a curious double curved sword and a strange plate like object instead of a shield. the swords in the second set seem straight and thin - sort of like rapiers and rather diminutive shields….

Ibrahiim- though there are many claims that Angam arts go back to Antiquity it is not based on solid evidence. no doubt there were fighting arts though time but the Angam in its present form can only be dated reliably to the 16th century.

For me the absence of Kasthana in these significant records (on the caskets) of the time in question signal the probable upper limit of time where Kasthana can be taken to. It must also be noted that almost all early Kasthana swords are associated with gifts by King Rajasinghhe I. of Sithawaka who was the rival to King Dom Juan Dharmapala of Kotte who was the vassal king to the Portuguese.

The images depicted on the casket were historic events contemporary with the item and the artist. they depict kings and not Gods so there is no reason to portray “older” types of arms on this. though on some other references found among temple art it may be true.

Regards

Prasanna
Prasanna Weerakkody is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th April 2014, 07:44 AM   #144
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,926
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prasanna Weerakkody
Fernando, yes both caskets are included in the catalogue I copied the images from. I forgot to mention that it was from the second one. The image accuracy seem quite good judging from other elements depicted. so swords are also most probably accurate. In the second image at the top (plate 18) there are two panels in the upper row that depict gladiators. one pair carry a curious double curved sword and a strange plate like object instead of a shield. the swords in the second set seem straight and thin - sort of like rapiers and rather diminutive shields….

Ibrahiim- though there are many claims that Angam arts go back to Antiquity it is not based on solid evidence. no doubt there were fighting arts though time but the Angam in its present form can only be dated reliably to the 16th century.

For me the absence of Kasthana in these significant records (on the caskets) of the time in question signal the probable upper limit of time where Kasthana can be taken to. It must also be noted that almost all early Kasthana swords are associated with gifts by King Rajasinghhe I. of Sithawaka who was the rival to King Dom Juan Dharmapala of Kotte who was the vassal king to the Portuguese.

The images depicted on the casket were historic events contemporary with the item and the artist. they depict kings and not Gods so there is no reason to portray “older” types of arms on this. though on some other references found among temple art it may be true.

Regards

Prasanna


Salaams Prasanna, Thanks for that detail which as you note underpins the period around the time of Rajasinghe 1 rule as the apparent Kastane appearance. In brief for other readers an extract from wikepedia;

Quote.''Rajasinghe I (Sinhala:පළමුවන රාජසිංහ) [1] was a king of the Kingdom of Sitawaka from 1581 to 1593. He is known for his bravery. Born as Tikiri Banda to King Mayadunne of the Kingdom of Sitawaka, the name "Rajasinha" was given to him after a battle against Portuguese forces. Rajasinha means the King of Lions (or the Lion King).''Unquote.

No amount of (distant)research seemed to be able to uncover the martial art inclusion of the Kastane of an earlier date, thus, I thank you for the clarity on Angampora .. It again underlines the cloudy period we are attempting to see clearly ...I think the period you mention is a fair bracket for the Kastane's birth (1581 to 1593).

I would appreciate your view of the stone carving at post #120 comparing that to the Japanese Hasekura Tsunenaga weapon that he obtained in the Philipines noting that he, as a Samurai, may have appreciated the blade as genuine? ~ and if this was the case we have two virtually identical blades and grips which may be the early version of the Kastane ...In the case of the Warriors sword perhaps preferred without quillons (Vajra) and handguard..? If these blades were original form it poses the question where did that blade style come from? Was it possibly from the Storta?

We know the sword was a court sword, Royal favourite and a badge of office both in earlier and later periods...and initially for Sri Lankan military commanders then for various Mudalyer and civil service officers etc ...

Perhaps we are closer to seeing its earlier development and in considering the time scale when it was designed?

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 9th April 2014 at 03:32 PM.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th April 2014, 05:49 PM   #145
fernando
Lead Moderator European Armoury
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 6,335
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prasanna Weerakkody
... the swords in the second set seem straight and thin - sort of like rapiers and rather diminutive shields….

Yes, the thin swords ... besides other notable differences. These two are not fighting, like the other pair. Their general aspect also looks distinct ... 'hats', robes, faces. Only the 'sash' pending from the waist looks the same; a detail that prevents me from realizing they are Portuguese
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11th April 2014, 03:35 PM   #146
fernando
Lead Moderator European Armoury
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 6,335
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prasanna Weerakkody
... according to the other report (appr. 1687) the gifts presented to the Portuguese court consisted of a crown set with gems and a statue of massive gold representing Dharmapala (then about three years old) in natural height. after the fief -oath in effigy had been taken on behalf of this prince, Don Juan III of Portugal crowned the statue as a sign of acknowledgement of the succession to the throne” ...

So is the version narrated by Father Fernão Queiroz in his manuscript.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prasanna Weerakkody
... yet no Kasthana swords can be observed in the collection depicted. even the royal sword used by King Buwanekabahu in his coronation seem to be a double edged blade of the common gladius type weapon of the time but longer. But it must be noted that the earliest specifically datable Kasthana swords are linked to the Mulleriyawela battle in 1559. ...



Still Alain Manneson Mallet in 'de l'Asie' section of his work dated 1683, depicts the King of Ceylon with a sword in nothing similar to a Kasthana; this considering that Khastanas belonged in the attire of Sinhalese novelty. Naturaly the author may be drawing the sword from his free mind, but when one looks at the depictions of Portuguese and Spanish Kings, details look pretty faithful.

.
Attached Images
  
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th April 2014, 05:07 AM   #147
Prasanna Weerakkody
Member
 
Prasanna Weerakkody's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Sri Lanka
Posts: 49
Default

Fernando, The figures you note on the Casket are really unusual in that the upper part of the dress is quite Portuguese while the lower part seems Sinhala. May be it is part of a jestering actors similar to the "Kolam" extant dance traditions which still contain elements that make fun of the British raj.

The King in the image included is King WImaladharmasuriya I, alias Konappu bandara alias Dom Joao of Austria- Son of one of King Rajasinghe I's generals who was salin by the King young Konappu escapes to Colombo and joins Portuguese and became excelled in battle under them becoming a captain in the Portuguese army; serving both in Goa and Ceilao. he then turned sides and coronated himself as King Wimaladharmasuriuya and became a formidable opponent of the Portuguese.

I include an image in which the King is in audience with Dutch Admiral Joris Van Spilbergen (published 1605) which is the original from which other copies seem to have been made. The detail in this seem believable and so should be the sword which is quite European. I am tempted to assume that the King retained a European style sword as he was trained in the Portuguese way of fighting and preferred a similar sword.

Regards

Prasanna
Attached Images
 
Prasanna Weerakkody is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th April 2014, 08:35 AM   #148
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,926
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default

Could the Kings Sword have been added later? It appears to be unnaturally densely hatched following hatching at ground near his left foot.. I suggest that, perhaps, this weapon was placed in retrospect and made to appear as European.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th April 2014, 02:17 PM   #149
fernando
Lead Moderator European Armoury
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 6,335
Default

Prasanna, the more i search for the Kasthana, the more i come across the Calachurro.
Listen to what Constantino Sá de Miranda (1638) writes in his Saragoça Codice, folio 47R:

… in this pagoda place the régulos (chiefs) of those first days had their court under the name of Deynoura which means city of God, today called by the Portuguese Tanauaré from the name of a neighbor village where the dancers of this pagoda lived, and (still) also (they) do it with (term) corruption, because its proper (name) will be Natandauaré which in the Chingala language means where to dance, where excellent casting work is done, copper, silver and gold, like calachurro grips, knives, locks and other things.

We may conclude from here that the Calachurro existance is an undeniable fact ... and that its grip was metalic.
On the other hand i had a look to all 199 articles pages; and again no Kasthane mention.

The work where i picked this text from, is called "os Olhos do Rei" (Kings eyes) and has lots of interesting information on Ceylon, including very interesting period maps. Pity that it is not translated; i think you would find it interesting for your perusal.

.
Attached Images
 
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th April 2014, 04:38 PM   #150
Prasanna Weerakkody
Member
 
Prasanna Weerakkody's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Sri Lanka
Posts: 49
Default

Fernando, We know that the Sinhala texts use the term Kasthana as early as mid 1500's; yet as you say no reference to Kasthana in Portuguese texts. may be this is evidence that indicate that the origin of the name Kasthana did not have a Portuguese root and Portuguese used a different term to describe it.

The use of Calachurro hilts as an example of the excellence of casting skill would not only indicate that the Calachurro hilts were metal but was in some way a challenging task to cast. - Like a Kasthana hilt ???

Hope one day would get to see the excellent material available to you- which sadly is rare down here.

Ibrahiim, the publication date for the source of the image is given as 1605 which may preclude later revisions. but a point to be noted is that the original image does not seem to have the side rings indicated in the later copies; and may resemble the more ancient type of Sinhala swords (similar to the ones shown in the Ivory casket.)

regards Prasanna
Prasanna Weerakkody 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 12:49 AM.


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.