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Old 12th April 2014, 05:38 PM   #151
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prasanna Weerakkody

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


Salaams Prasanna ..I would like to posit the following sub theory in respect of the Kasthane; I present my theory in several sections viz;

1.This is a home grown weapon. The king himself (King Rajasinghhe 1 reigned 1581 to 1593) ordered his workshops to design it...based upon a "golock style" of broad jungle blade with the respected hilt of zoomorphic form (the hilt more or less already existed in the region for example on the Pihae Kheata and on Javanese weapons) and initially with a crossguard more or less exactly as in the stone mural. (perhaps without scabbard, no handguard, no quillons) The date taken or suggested is near the start of his reign..about 1581..It is noted that he chose to assist him someone who could have influenced perhaps the nature of that weapon... from Southern India?

2. Quite soon after this the Vajra quillons were added though it seems clear they were not placed to block another sword but perhaps as balance/weight to the hilt or for decorative / religious purposes only. Further decoration included a handguard. The example is at the Sendai museum in Japan, thus, since it was purchased by Hasekura in about 1620 it may have been built around 1600?

3. The weapon then morphed in several ways and became a rank indicator worn by Sri Lankan troop leaders...as already described. The blades became narrower and more of a court sword item... Some weapons found their way to Europe and as displayed in the artwork on the Popham Armour in the Leeds Armoury...Some were straight others curved. The Kastane became the Mudalyers Sword worn by Sri Lankan leaders against the invader... and some would say it became the insignia of power.

4. Both Dutch and English Mudalyers (perhaps better considered as civil servants) wore the weapon and since it was tied to rank; The higher the official the more ornate the sword. During the Dutch period vast amounts of blades were imported by the VOC thus blade making in Sri Lanka greatly reduced...However Kastane continued to be worn right up to the end of the English period and beyond...and awarded to Mudalyers in the same way but in the EIC.

5. Reverse flow occured in influence onto other regional weapons including European dogheads plus early derivatives like the West African variant shown earlier.

It is interesting to note that perhaps the only European thing about the first Kastane was ..absolutely nothing ! It wasnt until the adoption of the handguard that any parallel can be drawn as to likeness to a European sword.


It is thus described above as initially a straight broad bladed battle sword and having changed with time into a court sword and badge of rank etc.
The Sri Lankan Kasthane.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 12th April 2014, 06:04 PM   #152
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prasanna Weerakkody
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 ??? ...

It is easy to support that the term Kasthana is not Portuguese; they were long gone by then. Besides, the word has no Portuguese characteristics, with its "K" letter and "th" spell. On the other hand we must remember that Calachurro is quoted by chroniclers as a name given by the locals, Lascarins for the case. We admit the usual corruption of the term to make it soundable in portuguese, which indeed so happens, but the term root is Sinhalese, whatever its local spell was. We may go into the fantasy of the name Calachurro being later changed to Kasthana due to its elevation from a field weapond to symbolic status, also influenced by dialect differences.
But then, i am potentialy talking nonsense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prasanna Weerakkody
... Hope one day would get to see the excellent material available to you- which sadly is rare down here. ...

Well, you can have in any case the paper i have quoted, written in portuguese; who knows some day you manage to submit it to translation. In the meantime you may enjoy period drawings of Adam's peak, the Buddha footprint and multiple plants of Pagodas and fortifications; even the area where the Vedas lived.
As the PDF was too heavy and beyond forum allowance, i took the libverty to send it to your email address. I hope it gets there.
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Old 12th April 2014, 06:25 PM   #153
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Interesting bit of bed head carving showing zoomorphic characters ... and below that the King inspecting Mudalyers/leaders late in the English period.
Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 14th April 2014, 06:26 PM   #154
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
... We may go into the fantasy of the name Calachurro being later changed to Kasthana ... But then, i am potentialy talking nonsense...

Obviously i am talking nonsense. You just reminded us a couple posts ago that the term Kasthana appears in texts since the mid 1550's.
But considering the coexistance of both swords, each one with its purpose ...
Have a (new) look at the sword used at Gannoruwa Battle by King Rajasinghe II, back in 1638. Practicaly no decorations, no 'false quillons', a reasonably wide and sharp edged blade ...
Its total length is 62.02 cm.
João Ribeiro mentions that the calachurro was two and half palms long (55 cms.); he might wish to exclude that it wasn't six whole palms (66 cms.).
May we admit that by 1638 the Kasthana was already and only a rank adornment.
King Rajasinghe would then need a more operational sword to go to war.
Could this be a Calachurro ?

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Old 11th June 2014, 08:33 PM   #155
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Here are a few pics of the two I have owned. The more complete hilt example is still in my possession
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Old 12th June 2014, 08:40 AM   #156
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Here are two from my collection.
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Old 12th June 2014, 12:37 PM   #157
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Very nice!
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Old 12th June 2014, 03:57 PM   #158
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I was studying the sunburst design in Sri Lankan work ... I refer to the sworls or sunburst activity in the lionesque maine or serpents gills (depending how you view it) at the throat of zoomorphic beast forming the hilt...See below.
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Old 28th August 2017, 08:14 PM   #159
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
... Which certainly have a value ratio far greater than countless perorations which, although containing some peripheral (but not intrinsic) info, make us ponder on their immense space occupied in the archives versus their juice, after squeezing them.
It is obvious that despite Jim’s industrious initiative to transfer this theme to a new thread under a multiple (triple) range of attributions, the nuclear point remains the same: the origin, date and outer influences in the Kastane. However it is not the hammering on the same nail head, time and time without count, that will bring light to the subject. No one forgets that certain approaches were repeated a zillion times … sometimes with the very same wording.
Resuming that, taking in consideration the recurrent (massacred) pre and post Portuguese ‘key’ to the matter ...
It can not be questioned that the Kastane was born in Ceylon … and not result of a ‘joint venture’.
The probabilities that it had western influences along time, namely Portuguese, it could only be in the hilt, namely the lower recurved quillons... the ricasso a giveaway.
The blade in itself would never be Portuguese, simply because they were not blade makers. Actually the Kastane blades seen out there are so varied that i have already seen one made in brass.
Assuming that Portuguese sword designs were common to other Peoples … Spanish, Venetians and so, we may view these probable influences, for the matter, as being Portuguese, because they were indeed the first to actually reside and mix cultures with the locals.
But obviously the admissible influence of Portuguese, for one, is a hypothesis that would be easily knocked down by evidential appearance of the missing link: example/s of Kastane prior to this period ... no matter how different or of how many different forms they timely were.
Based on this eternal fait divers and talking about (Portuguese) influences, i feel entitled to upload here a hybrid that i have pictured in one of my library books, which belongs in the collection of its author, titled HOMENS ESPADAS E TOMATES, by Rainer Daehnhardt, whom owns one of the largest collections of weapons and documentation covering, among other, the Portuguese discoveries period.

.



Salaams Fernando, Your post at #80.

I have to point out the nature of this sword which has nothing to do with Sri Lankan weapons since it is the preferred design having a lions head of the kings of such tribes in West Africa ~ Benin and Dahomey regions.

The author of the sword write up and picture(Rainer Daehnhardt) forces the description in such a way as to be Certain that this weapon sailed with the Portuguese to the far flung corners of the Indian Ocean where it is imagined it took on the mantle ...or hilt... of the Kastane...or that it in any way was influenced by that weapon. I would suggest that "It most Certainly did not". See http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ed=1#post220003

I further cast doubt upon the claim that this is a Christian cross. Again the reference above refers. It is more likely to be Voodoo inspired.

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Old 29th August 2017, 02:41 PM   #160
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Salaams Fernando, Your post at #80.

I have to point out the nature of this sword which has nothing to do with Sri Lankan weapons ...


Boa tarde Senhor Balooshi,
Either my alzheimer level is rather intense or this issue has already been approached and, a consensual perspective was established, for i would not resurrect it unless i had some fresh news to produce. I am afraid that, if i tried to remodel old beaten material, just keep the present thead going, i would be, as we say here, raining on the wet. In the other thread where plausibitiy of writers description was at stake we assumed that often true sounding assumptions miss actual veracity, like the case of this specific sword examle, which was ascertained within the hour, if i well remember
So .. let me keep consistent .
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Old 29th August 2017, 04:09 PM   #161
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Salaams Fernando, Thank you very much for your reply. I am so pleased you agree that the offending weapon description has no place in this thread nor in others ... and that since it pollutes the story in several threads with its spurious reference to weapons of West Africa; Benin and Dahomey regions in particular having certainly travelled to the Indian Ocean in Portuguese Battleships...etc etc ..therefor they must be influenced by Kastane (Sinhalese Armoury weapons) that those pages too should be purged of such material. It is nonsense.

I repeat your advice ...Quote"For as much as authors claim their knowledge and state their opinions as if they were facts, lack of substantial evidence often forms their strong adversary".Unquote.

On the subject of raining in the wet... What new evidence have you supported in this thread ? We have here and in the sister thread at http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...0000#post220000 massive support of clear inter regional influence from mainly South India but also inter religious mirroring of architecture concerning the Kastane linked to Budhist and Hindu designs which are not affected by Portuguese constructs nor does it appear to have any link at all with the Nimcha... and by the way the other spurious sword from your author, a Nimcha Sword from Zanzibar, I recall is also wrongly written up with the detail of a Moroccan Nimcha... Should we perhaps not be more careful with our referencing material?

I would be pleased to see a proof regarding the Christian Cross in the blade as so far as is understood this is a Voodoo geometry although any light you can throw on it other than the author writing that this is a Christian Cross related to those on Pharaohic Tombs?

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

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Old 30th August 2017, 09:43 AM   #162
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You are absolutely right, Ibrahiim,
I should have restrained my reflex to reply to your post.
But, as the late Rodríguez de la Fuente used to say; man is the only animal that stumbles twice on the same rock .
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Old 30th August 2017, 03:23 PM   #163
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
I would be pleased to see a proof regarding the Christian Cross in the blade as so far as is understood this is a Voodoo geometry although any light you can throw on it other than the author writing that this is a Christian Cross related to those on Pharaohic Tombs?

I would be careful identifying the equilateral cross as being solely "Voodoo geometry" Ibrahiim. (Btw, the more proper term would be Vodun or Vodoun. While Certain diaspora sects in Louisiana use the term, Voodoo carries far to much bad Hollywood movie baggage with it).This symbol is both ancient and prolific and can be found amongst cultures spread all across the globe with various meanings. In many cases it represents a solar symbology, the four directions, the four elements, etc. Depends on the culture. You are correct that in West African cultures such as the Ewe and Fon it represents the crossroads, the meeting of the spirit world and the material. However, the equilateral cross also has a place in Christian iconography as well in many variations. So while it is most logical to assume that the equilateral cross when found on a solely African weapon most probably does not have a Christian affiliation, it is not so clear as to the meaning and purpose of such a symbol when it appears on weapons outside West African spheres.
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Old 30th August 2017, 03:50 PM   #164
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
I would be careful identifying the equilateral cross as being solely "Voodoo geometry" Ibrahiim. (Btw, the more proper term would be Vodun or Vodoun. While Certain diaspora sects in Louisiana use the term, Voodoo carries far to much bad Hollywood movie baggage with it).This symbol is both ancient and prolific and can be found amongst cultures spread all across the globe with various meanings. In many cases it represents a solar symbology, the four directions, the four elements, etc. Depends on the culture. You are correct that in West African cultures such as the Ewe and Fon it represents the crossroads, the meeting of the spirit world and the material. However, the equilateral cross also has a place in Christian iconography as well in many variations. So while it is most logical to assume that the equilateral cross when found on a solely African weapon most probably does not have a Christian affiliation, it is not so clear as to the meaning and purpose of such a symbol when it appears on weapons outside West African spheres.



Salaams and thank you David for your input which I agree with entirely with the following caveat; The tribal leaders in West Africa very quickly adopted the Crucifix and would appear to have inserted the Cross into their broad leaf shaped swords probably from the Portuguese and as I have just outlined in

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=23002 at #20

I believe this "Religious" geometry would have suggested to them a special extra degree of power over their people ... Your Vodun and Vodoun are correct terminology although I had researched the New Orleans and Haiti cultural aspects and Voodoo seemed linked which I think it is in part and shown by the diagrams at the other thread and came with the slaves from West Africa. Your indication about the cross roads symbolic meaning is particularly welcome and underscores what I have already written.

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Old 30th August 2017, 05:36 PM   #165
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Originally Posted by David
...So while it is most logical to assume that the equilateral cross when found on a solely African weapon most probably does not have a Christian affiliation, it is not so clear as to the meaning and purpose of such a symbol when it appears on weapons outside West African spheres.

Several Congolese swords are found with such crosses in their quillon discs, David. I hardly see these perforations as symbols originated (different than adopted) by Kongo Africans. Amazingly a scholar (Wanynn 1961,65) even names them as Greek crosses.
The order of Christus, for one, was also present in the Kongo kingdom and had swords in their possession as a sign of status (Schellings 1949, 12).
The Kongo kingdom was defined by the mutation process where European elements were incorporated in domestic culture.
Portuguese arrived in Congo in 1482 and soon converted the local monarchs to Christianty. The first monarch to be baptized was Nzinga-a-Nkuwu, with Christian name João I in 1491. The process went smoothly because the Christian elements called for domestic ideas on their own ideology. Afonso I (1509-1540), the secong king converted to christianty, had seen this well, and confirmed his power for the Europeans and for the domestic population by the setting up with catholicism. The European elite symbol, the sword, was taken over. Together with the crucifix, these two European elements have certainly incorporated most of the habits of the Bakongo (Wannyn 1961, 67).
Deceased Kongo monarchs were found buried with these swords in a Christian attitude.
The symbolism behind the sword for the Bakongo is reduced to the domestic ideas concerning iron and their own theology which was reflected in the form of the sword. Also the rituals which were carried out with the swords reflected this symbolism; in any case the swords came initially from Europe. At the time of the Portugese, European swords were used. Later these became scarcer and domestic copies started being made.
The last soba to have a portuguese Christian name was Soba Nkanga-a-Lukeni, Garcia II (1641-1661). This adds to two centuries of culture blending.


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Old 31st August 2017, 09:59 AM   #166
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Kubur, your PM box is full.
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Old 31st August 2017, 05:20 PM   #167
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Several Congolese swords are found with such crosses in their quillon discs, David. I hardly see these perforations as symbols originated (different than adopted) by Kongo Africans. Amazingly a scholar (Wanynn 1961,65) even names them as Greek crosses.
The order of Christus, for one, was also present in the Kongo kingdom and had swords in their possession as a sign of status (Schellings 1949, 12).
The Kongo kingdom was defined by the mutation process where European elements were incorporated in domestic culture.
Portuguese arrived in Congo in 1482 and soon converted the local monarchs to Christianty. The first monarch to be baptized was Nzinga-a-Nkuwu, with Christian name João I in 1491. The process went smoothly because the Christian elements called for domestic ideas on their own ideology. Afonso I (1509-1540), the secong king converted to christianty, had seen this well, and confirmed his power for the Europeans and for the domestic population by the setting up with catholicism. The European elite symbol, the sword, was taken over. Together with the crucifix, these two European elements have certainly incorporated most of the habits of the Bakongo (Wannyn 1961, 67).
Deceased Kongo monarchs were found buried with these swords in a Christian attitude.
The symbolism behind the sword for the Bakongo is reduced to the domestic ideas concerning iron and their own theology which was reflected in the form of the sword. Also the rituals which were carried out with the swords reflected this symbolism; in any case the swords came initially from Europe. At the time of the Portugese, European swords were used. Later these became scarcer and domestic copies started being made.
The last soba to have a portuguese Christian name was Soba Nkanga-a-Lukeni, Garcia II (1641-1661). This adds to two centuries of culture blending.

Fernando, there is certainly no doubt that Christianity made inroads on the African continent early on in the 15th century and that various African cultures did indeed accept it and work Christian iconography into their cultural artifacts. However, i was addressing Ibrahiim's assertions in my post, specifically references to "Voodoo geometry" and his link in his post #159 to images of the Haitian Vodoun vévé for Papa Legba, the Lwa of the crossroads. Vodun is more specific to the Dahomey Kingdom than the Konga Kingdom. While i remarked that the equilateral cross has many pre-Christian occurrences all over the world and is intact a symbol of the the crossroads in parts of African as well as the diaspora, vévé themselves, the practice of drawing these Lwa symbols on the ground with flour for ritual purpose is one that developed in Haiti and other diaspora countries, not Mother Africa herself, so the Legba crossroads symbol Ibrahiim posted has little bearing on this topic. However, in Africa this equilateral cross symbol was in use in pre-Christian days. Once Christianized i am sure that it took on a different meaning an purpose, but wherever one religion supplants another there is often some hold over to previous belief systems and meanings can be a bit fuzzy to interpret. There are also numerous syncretic sects throughout Africa that combine Christianity with traditional African religions. But when i wrote it is "most logical to assume that the equilateral cross when found on a solely African weapon most probably does not have a Christian affiliation" i was referring to weapons from cultures that were purely African and had not fully converted to Christian ways. Either way i believe it is still difficult to tell the exact intent and purpose of the equilateral cross when it appears on these swords.
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Old 31st August 2017, 07:38 PM   #168
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Good enough, David .
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Old 31st August 2017, 07:42 PM   #169
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I have to say ...or should I say point out? That both these complex answers on the subject of Crosses are on completely the wrong thread. My advice would be that the correct thread is ~

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=23002

~ where Crosses are being aired relevant to West African swords.
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Old 31st August 2017, 08:19 PM   #170
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An interesting gift from Russia to Sri Lanka was made in the form of a previously lost sword now returned....and gifted to the National Museum.
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Old 1st September 2017, 04:53 AM   #171
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
I have to say ...or should I say point out? That both these complex answers on the subject of Crosses are on completely the wrong thread. My advice would be that the correct thread is ~

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=23002

~ where Crosses are being aired relevant to West African swords.

LOL! Well, I have to say...it was you Ibrahiim, who raised the topic when you revived this old thread in your post #159. You placed the link to that thread and wrote:
I further cast doubt upon the claim that this is a Christian cross. Again the reference above refers. It is more likely to be Voodoo inspired.
You further press this question in post #161:
I would be pleased to see a proof regarding the Christian Cross in the blade as so far as is understood this is a Voodoo geometry although any light you can throw on it other than the author writing that this is a Christian Cross related to those on Pharaohic Tombs?
So if you truly think our responses are on the wrong thread you might want to ask yourself why you continue to encourage the discussion here.
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Old 1st September 2017, 04:58 PM   #172
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
LOL! Well, I have to say...it was you Ibrahiim, who raised the topic when you revived this old thread in your post #159. You placed the link to that thread and wrote:
I further cast doubt upon the claim that this is a Christian cross. Again the reference above refers. It is more likely to be Voodoo inspired.
You further press this question in post #161:
I would be pleased to see a proof regarding the Christian Cross in the blade as so far as is understood this is a Voodoo geometry although any light you can throw on it other than the author writing that this is a Christian Cross related to those on Pharaohic Tombs?
So if you truly think our responses are on the wrong thread you might want to ask yourself why you continue to encourage the discussion here.


David Thank you for posting your detailed work on the cross situation albeit on the wrong thread...which I hope can be remedied smartly.

Although it is plain to see that I was originally writing in context not out of it. In fact it was quite relevant as I was looking back with the thought of damage control in mind and to correct anything I felt needed attention... The West African Machette is clearly in that category since in view of post at #80. placed on this thread. it is a clearly out of sync. picture with spurious (at best) detail about West African/Portuguese Sinhalese influence unless you agree with the proposition that is?

But it is good that at least you now recognize that the Cross discussion belongs on another thread as it is relevant to West African detail...On the other thread in fact you will see clearly that I concur with the idea of the Portuguese influence and place my own research behind that premise... although I doubt much of the constructed work by others that the influence is Pharoaic or because it came down the trans Saharan highway..

SEE CORRECT thread at http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=23002.

I do not encourage discussion here on this subject ...it is the wrong thread unless you are deliberate in placing it / chasing it here...? The threads are a mess because of this misplacement. Look at it from a logical viewpoint of library content...?

Whilst there is excellent detail on the said posts they are woefully misplaced. Can a consensus not be arrived at to sort this raveled mix up out?

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Old 1st September 2017, 05:14 PM   #173
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Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Rather than hack the player how about focussing on the message... Although it is plain to see that I was originally writing in context not out of it. In fact it was quite relevant in view of post at #80. placed on this thread. a clearly out of sinc. picture with spurious (at bast) detail about West African/Portuguese Sinhalese influence unless you agree with the proposition that is?

But it is good that at least you now recognize that the Cross discussion belongs on another thread as it is relevant to West African detail...

SEE CORRECT thread at http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=23002.

I do not encourage discussion here on this subject ...it is the wrong thread unless you are deliberate in placing it / chasing it here...? The threads are a mess because of this misplacement. Look at it from a logical viewpoint of library content...

Whilst there is excellent detail on the said posts they are woefully misplaced. Can a consensus not be arrived at to sort this raveled mix up out?

Ibrahiim, everything i have written here is in direct response to information YOU have brought up within the context of THIS thread. I have no interest whatsoever in continuing this little back and forth we are currently engaged in nor any interest in transferring my comments to another thread where you believe it would be more appropriately placed. This "raveled mix-up" is entirely yours my friend. You can accept it and continue or simply move along. Thanks for playing.
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Old 1st September 2017, 05:27 PM   #174
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
Ibrahiim, everything i have written here is in direct response to information YOU have brought up within the context of THIS thread. I have no interest whatsoever in continuing this little back and forth we are currently engaged in nor any interest in transferring my comments to another thread where you believe it would be more appropriately placed. This "raveled mix-up" is entirely yours my friend. You can accept it and continue or simply move along. Thanks for playing.


Sir, You reverse away from discussion but delight in hacking the player not the ball...? You are in a spotlight here and refuse to even take the field. It is a shame. Your lack of interest is noted. I will indeed take this on myself.
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Old 1st September 2017, 07:09 PM   #175
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THE KASTANE . Its Architecture.

I present here an interesting write up on a sold item see http://www.icollector.com/A-FINE-PR...SWORD_i15525534 where it states~

Quote"An exceptional example of classic form, wrought entirely of silver. The hilt elaborately chiseled with scrollwork, the pommel a fully-modeled makara head with ruby eyes, the guard with five further monsterheads, and the face of a fanged demon on the knucklebow. The lightly-curved, single-edged blade with blunt ricasso. In its finely embellished silver scabbard decorated en suite with the hilt, the terminal likewise formed as a monster head, and inscribed, MUDALIYAR B.P. AMERASINGHE. With its handwrought silver chain baldric terminating in a large filigreed bead. Second half of the 19th century.The term 'mudaliyar' is a Tamil honorific, generally applied to a high-ranking member of the military or government. Overall length 60 cm. Condition I." Unquote.

The proviso here being that the use of words by auctioneers and museums may vary considerably in describing the Deities and that a sympathetic viewpoint has already been adopted here on thread. Interesting is the silver chain baldric although something not noted by the auctioneers is The Humanoid Face, outward facing, sometimes refered to as The Humanoid Crocodile on the Knuckleguard which is another Deity not always present but every bit as fascinating. I think this is the Kirtimukha. With this in mind readers may note the extraordinary descriptive given at #49 to which I would add; Lions Head form... in many examples.

Unusually the so called Quilon structures(Vajra) are wide in this late model as opposed to earlier form which are close together. In this case has the European style of Quilon been adopted? Personally and since this was not a fighting weapon (court and badge of office only) I do not think so but it is noted in the margin for others to comment.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 4th September 2017, 07:03 PM   #176
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In previous discussions, there has been the illustration(attached) with an entry in a book by Mr. Rainer Daehnhardt, which shows a sword (cutlass) with a cutlass type blade distinctive to Dahomey, West Africa. What is notable here is that its hilt is remarkably similar to the Sinhalese kastane with lionhead.
It has been suggested that this hybrid may reveal possible links between these vastly distant locations or possible developmental influences.
Actually I believe it is simply a notation to the similarity to a Ceylonese hilt.

It is well known to us as students of ethnographica that such instances of items of distinctly regional or cultural form may turn up occasionally in situations where they are completely incongruent in areas far distant and disconnected from their point of origin.

This seems a case of the union of a foreign or 'exotic' hilt being joined to a Dahomean blade in the oft used convention of such hybridization with diplomatically oriented swords.

Some time ago in discussions here there was a case of what appears a hanger type sword of kastane form (but has been rehilted it seems without the lionhead) and shown described as a 'dragon sword', found in British Columbia in Canada. This was discussed in a book titled "Similkeen: The Pictograph Country" (Bill Barlee,1978) and other research revealed an inventory of 1836 of the Northwest Co. which included 12 'dragon swords'.
("Rocky Mountain Outfit, 1836, Fontanelle, Fitzpatrick &Co.", papers of the American Fur Company, Reel 7, vols. Y & Z, Missouri Historical Society).

It is compelling to think of these as examples of 'kastane' which had arrived somehow in this unusual setting, with the resounding question of 'how did they get here?'.

In one explanation, it is noted there was an ill fated Spanish expedition into these regions mid 18th century (suggesting the term 'turtle people' in native legend there referred to the cuirasses of the Spaniards. It is conceivable that the Spanish had acquired some of these Ceylonese swords via their colonies in the Philippines, as trade entrepots there of course would have networked with others trading in Ceylon.
* shown is the route of the Hasekura embassy of 17th c. where a kastane was acquired from the King of Spain, either in Spain or Philippines.

However, the trade company case with 12 swords listed as 'dragon' swords seems much more likely conditionally. Some suggestion has been made that the term 'dragon' may be a contracted use of the term 'dragoon' of course referring to the heavy cavalry sabres. There is always that possibility, except that no other examples of these dragoon swords are known in these contexts. The was a favor for shorter weapons such as hangers, and the 'broadswords' listed were actually short, heavy artillery sidearms (the term broadsword was still generically used in those times).


Returning to the potential origins of the Sinhalese kastane form, an interesting example of dagger/short sword is shown in "Arts of the Muslim Knight", Furasiyya Foundation, 2008 (p.206, #197). It is listed as Deccani, probably Bahamanid dynasty and of 15th century.
It seems that these Deccani influences, the downturned quillons with Makara heads, and the general configuration of the hilt pommel and knuckleguard are remarkably compelling as a proto-kastane form.

These influences diffusing via Tamils to the east, provided a compelling conduit with their trade and diplomatic contacts into Ceylon with the central kingdom of Kandy. The artisans and craftsman of this kingdom were well known for their work on the piha kaetta knives so key in royal regalia, and apparently development of the kastane into a sword of status as well.
Here again, certain elements and influences were syncretically combined in the form of hilt we know existed before c. 1600.
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Old 5th September 2017, 12:09 AM   #177
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Salaams Jim, Thank you for your post. I remember the Hasekura adventure and how he acquired the weapons in the Philipines. One of my questions about the so called Kastane he purchased is still being looked at since the blade is non typical and although a quillons style is fitted the blade seems to be much wider...similar in a way to the stone frieze blade. It (the Sendai Museum weapon) looks suspiciously like a Chinese blade.

Regarding the West African Dahomey sword ..or the write up with the weapon... it is conveniently some would say willy-nilly even... given the write up as having certainly bounced back from a deployment with the Portuguese Battle Fleet from Sri Lanka and having influence from their armoury... from the Kastane . This is doubtful since why would a machette tribal sword make such a journey and be given this most peculiar treatment? It appears as a flambouyant idea straight from the head of the author without any proof but as a seemingly fanciful notion.

On the other hand concerning the Cross cut into the broad leaf style of blade; it is plausible that some shades of Portuguese influence in their long association in the region may have occurred and wall art in caves bears this out to some degree. Black Crab swords with similar crosses are further evidence of such liaison but as for the weapons going off on tour with the Portuguese Armada for me it is a bridge too far...That does not rule out a hilt being brought back from such an adventure and possibly being presented to a chief... but that is a very different notion. If the hilt is not a bring back from the Indian Ocean then where is it from?... I have suggested that this is either a home grown carved big cat favoured by chieftains in Dahomey regions or perhaps a Storta Hilt perhaps as a gift. Looking at the skills of the Ivory carvers in the region I suggest that this is the origin. Home grown in other words.

Your inclusion of the South Indian sword from arts of the Muslim Knights is amazing. Here is a direct link in form from Sri Lanka's nearest neighbour even though the style of religion was slightly different the mirroring onto this weapon is clear and one which I would base my next survey... and refer to your excellent addition here. The net result of such findings although I need to show the architecture as wholly linked regionally it would in my view cast serious doubt on external influence and positive proof of the Kastane as entirely Home Grown (exempt the European later blade replacements)

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

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Old 5th September 2017, 12:14 AM   #178
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Here I bring on all the architectural details in picture form onto this thread from the other Sri Lankan epic.

First I make reference to #176 above where the weapons from arts of the Muslim Knights are shown thus a search light is shining on the South Indian weaponry shown there by Jim from

Quote"Arts of the Muslim Knight", Furasiyya Foundation, 2008 (p.206, #197). It is listed as Deccani, probably Bahamanid dynasty and of 15th century." Unquote.

Viewers may see a degree of Religious linkage from the adjacent Buddhist cultures and in particular from the main source India. Others may see the fact that The Great Buddha himself is said to have visited the country and that although there are different types of the religion they flowed like a tide in and out with large periods of time in one form or the other.

What the pictorial below shows is the obvious transition of architecture on the Kastane from Southern India and also mirrored from Tibetan weapons either direct or bounced in via Indian form.

The quillons are probably not quilons per se...They are Vajra and important tools and insignia in the Buddhist religion said to have been carried by The Great Buddha into Tibet personally and since the Kastana we know ...was never a Battle Field weapon these thunderbolts or diamonds that they represent were never meant to be for fighting but as badge of rank or court swords. For this reason it matters little that the finials comprising dragon heads are invariably closed on the blade in the narrowed throat and in direct contrast with any European type.

The deity comprising the main hilt is powerful represented by a Lion or Makara, hand carved and studded with precious stones.

The Tail represents another revered creature; The Peacock.

In the handguard we see several creatures including a Humanoid faced crocodile, probably Kurtimucha, in the Robert Hales picture at left where he also notes the provenance of the middle picture as Mysore or Madras.

Other Deities spill down the hand guard onto the cross guard area in typical Yali, dragon or monster form.

The scabbard is resplendent in decorative style culminating occasionally in a decorated ball perhaps a pearl or sometimes another zoomorphic arrangement.

Conclusion. Overall I see no external European involvement whatsoever moreover every inch of the Kastane cries out as Buddhist/Hindu style. The majority of influence appears from India thus it is from there that I suggest the form evolved. Tibet also offers strong reflections but it is not known to what extent each is measured. Except for late European blades being refitted to these exorbitant and magnificent hilts I confirm the importance of this sword as being solely produced in Sri Lankan workshops with no input visible from European sources.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 5th September 2017, 02:02 PM   #179
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Hi Jim,
I see that the image of the Benin sword belonging in the collection of Mister Rainer Daehnhardt makes its millionth appearance. Should i ever realize this picture would become viral, i wouldn't take part in such promotion as, despite the eventuality of its owner being so proud to possess such famous item, he might as well not be so fond of what has been written about him, for every time such picture shows up together with its text, as it comes in the book, it is tagged with a string of rejections in a mode of unpleasant, even caustic, adjectives and connotations, even occasionally based on misinterpretations, not making a distinction between the role of either book neither post author ... notwithstanding the recurrent assumption that the sword description belongs only to the book author and, as personally opined, its veracity being admitedly susceptible of implausibility, as timely quoted such not being an uncommon phenomenon. For i guess that, the only way for this picture appearance to cease being repeatedly tied to the whipping pole, is to humbly discourage its posting.


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Old 6th September 2017, 01:46 AM   #180
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WOW!
Actually the sword Mr. Daehnhardt has in his book is a most valid example, and serves well to illustrate the apparently numerous examples of hybrid or rehilted instances of these very distinct hilts.

Swords are famously known for being remounted, and married in often incongruent assemblies as they are refurbished with changing hands as heirlooms, trade items, diplomatic hybrids or any number of cases.

It seems to me that this sword is likely one such example. Every author has examples or references in their books that may be reconsidered in later times as new evidence or examples are found. Actually every author hopes and expects to be corrected as others work forward researching their subject matter and text. Most include notices in their forwards in the publication that they are responsible for any errors or material which may be disproven or reconsidered.
Consider that in my case as a writer, clearly most of what I express as comment or observation is quickly critiqued, whether refuted or rebutted and many times even agreed with..either way I think of it as constructive and often helpful in learning much in the manner I describe.

I do not agree that the Daehnhardt example should be censored out of dialogue regarding the Sinhalese kastane, as I have noted it is an example of hybrid in the spectrum of these hilts in other contexts.

The 'Sendai' example of c.1613 in Japan is another example of this distinct hilt form with what appears a 'foreign' blade type. Again, it serves as an example of this hilt in terminus post quem with well established provenance.
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