Fine Singhalese Kasthane Sword , Sri Lanka

Rare Horn Scabbard

14972 Category:

Origin: Sri Lanka

Date: Early 19 C.


The Kathane sword which sometimes referred to as “The National Sword of Ceylon” (after G.C. Stone) is of a typical Kandyan sword design. The typical pommel resembles the head of a lion (simha). This style of lion-headed dress sword, worn as a symbol of status and of high rank, and particularly to mark ceremonial occasions, is a Sri Lankan invention. This sword type employs a short curved saber style blade, some times of mediocre quality. Several sources indicate that most blades of these swords are of European origin, However this is not a substantiated fact. The monumental work of P.H.D.H De Silva (See below) claims that out of about 100 such swords in Sri Lankan museums, very few are mounted with European blades.


An outstanding feature of the Kasthane sword lies in the elaborate and sometimes bejeweled hilt with lion’s head pommel, animal terminals on the cross guards, knuckle guard and quillons. Scabbards are wood horn (see below) or metal, high quality chased silver.


The kasthane sword offered here is a fine exemplar with cast silver hilt with lion head pommel set with red stones (Ruby ??) eyes. Heavy blade of quality with brass inserts, and surprisingly whole black horn scabbard with silver bands. Horn scabbards are very rare. We have not seen one before although it is shortly mentioned by G.C. Stone.


Blade 16 inches, total 24 inches. Very good condition. Nicely patinated blade (no pitting). Losses to the brass inserts on the blade.

For further information see: P.H.D.H. De Silva and S. Wickramasinghe “Ancient Swords, Daggers & Knives in Sri Lankan Museums”
Also: G. C. Stone Glossary, pages 339, 340 Fig 426


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