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for smelting furnaces. This consisted of two upright hollow wooden cylinders fixed in the ground, across the top of each of which a piece of deer-skin was fastened, having a hole in it of the diameter of a man's finger. Two strings attached to each skin near this central hole were tied to two bent springs of elastic wood fixed in the ground near each cylinder. Knox describes the action as follows:- The man that blows stands with his feet, one on each pot, covering each hole with the soles of his feet. And as he treads on one pot, and presseth the skin down, he takes his foot off the other, which presently by the help of the Spring riseth; and the doing so alternately conveys a great quantity of wind through the Pipes into the Furnace. For there are also two Pipes made of hollow reed [bamboo] let in to the sides of the Pots, that are to conduct the wind, like the nose of a Bellows, into the Furnace.
'For the ease of the Blower, there is a strap, that is fastned to two posts, and comes round behind him, on which he leans his back and he has a stick laid cross-ways before him on which he lays both his hands, and so he blows with greater ease.' 1
Early in last century Dr. Davy saw the common form of skin bellows, made from two bullock's skins, employed at such furnaces in the Nuwara Eliya district. Iron smelting has now ceased in Ceylon. I may note that the iron from the furnaces is termed either Yakaḍa or Yabora, and the scoriae or clinkers' are Yakaḍa bora.
From its simple form it may be assumed that the Plough, Nagula, has been used in Ceylon from the time of the Gangetic settlers, and possibly from the earlier period when the Nāgas came to the island, without any change of shape. Ploughs were used in India in Vedic times. Buffaloes, which
1 An Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon, 1681, p. 97.
were most probably brought over for ploughing or for trampling the soil into mud after the method still practised in the east and south of the island, and everywhere in newly-reclaimed land full of roots, are stated in the manuscript 'Pradhāna Nuwarawal' to have been first introduced into Ceylon in the reign of Dēvānam-piya Tissa, that is, soon after the middle of the third century B.C.; but the plough would be known in the island before that date.
The only early example of the plough which I have seen was a piece of wood evidently cut for one, that was found in the sand of an ancient stream, in a puddle trench, under the embankment of the Batalagoḍa tank. There had been a breach at the site in former times, and the plough may have been washed down by the stream at a much later date than the construction of the reservoir. It had the shape of the modern implement, but was larger than those now used.
The plough share is a thin plate of iron fixed on the sloping end of the plough; its outline is a high arch, a vertical semiellipse, resting on nearly upright walls and having a flat base. It has little or no cutting action, its chief function being the protection of the end of the plough; hence, possibly, its employment as an amulet in ancient times. The plough does not cut its way, but is simply pulled through the ground, tearing up clods of turf, which find their way to one side or the other. The plougher raises or depresses the handle, which he holds by one hand only, so as to keep the base of the share about three inches below the surface.
The Potter's Wheel is of equally early occurrence in Ceylon, and numerous fragments of wheel-made pottery were found in the lowest part of the early stratum at Tissa. It is balanced on a smooth boss cut on the top of a block of hard stone fixed firmly in the ground.
The origin of the Cotton Spinning Wheel, Kapu Katina Yantra, and Cotton Gin, Kapu Kapana Yantra, is doubtless much more recent; there is nothing to show the date of their introduction into Ceylon. Early spinning would be done by hand like that of the Kinnaras at the present day, by means of a whorl fitted on a wooden pin, which at a later date was
replaced by an iron one. Perforated whorls of earthenware, with a broad groove round the middle, were found in the lowest stratum at Tissa. The disk-like seeds of a large creeper are now used by the Kinnaras as weights for their spindles, which are sometimes made from the ribs of the side leaves of coconut fronds, and are 12 inches long.
The use of the Spinning Wheel seems to have been practically abandoned during the first half of last century, after cotton yarn and cotton goods of foreign manufacture became obtainable at a cheap rate; but a few persons in the interior still
243. Elevation at Drum
FIGS. 242, 243. The Spinning Wheel.
employ it. Its shape (Figs. 242 and 243) was like that of the rough home-made type of wheel constructed in some Indian villages, having three flat boards, 24 inches wide, with two holes near each extremity, as spokes at each end of the axle, which was made of great thickness so as to support them firmly. A continuous cord wrapped with calico to prevent the slipping of the driving cord, was carried across from each hole to the nearest one of the next spoke at the other end of the axle, thus forming a flexible skeleton drum. The spokes at one end of it were opposite the spaces at the other end. A Spindle, Idda,
on to which the cotton was fed by hand, was held in two birdmouth rests fixed in an upright in front of the drum.
At the beginning, the operator, who was always a woman, commenced by drawing out from a heap of cleaned cotton a band of sufficient thickness which she twisted by rolling it on her thigh until it became as thick as the finger. From this a thread was drawn out, and after being twisted in the same manner on the thigh was wound on the spool or spindle while additional thread was being drawn out and twisted. To wind it on the spool the latter was placed in the bird-mouth rests, and a cord was passed round the drum and back round a reel fixed on the lower half of the spindle. When the loose handle at one end of the axle was turned the friction of the cord on the covered strings of the skeleton drum caused the spindle to revolve, winding the yarn on its upper half, and stretching it to nearly equal thickness. After as much yarn as it would hold had been thus passed on to the spindle, it was removed, and the yarn was wound off it in hanks from the fork of the hand round the back of the upper arm near the elbow. From the hanks it was again wound round short sticks fixed in the ground thirty feet apart, for drying, after which it was ready for the weaver.
The Cotton Gin.
The Cotton Gin (Fig. 244), which must be of much later date, consisted of two horizontal wooden rollers (Kambaranga) placed one above the other between two uprights (Kakul) that were fixed in a stand or board. Both rollers were round bars; they passed through the uprights, outside one of which they terminated in endless wooden screws. A loose handle passed through a hole in one roller, at the opposite end. When this was turned the screw on it working on the screw of the other
roller caused both to revolve in opposite directions. The space between the rollers was adjusted by means of a plug of wood inserted under the lower one.
While the handle was turned by the left hand (the operator sitting on the long rest which projects at a right angle), the cotton was fed by the right hand between the plain parts of the rollers, which drew it off the seeds; but the action as I have seen it performed was extremely slow. In early times of course the cotton cleaning was done by hand.
I have no notes of the Kandian Weaving Frames, Accuwa. They were large rectangular frames, some being 20 feet long and 4 feet 6 inches wide, fixed horizontally near the ground. The Shuttle, Nadawa, made of Tamarind wood, 11 inches long I inches wide and 1 inch deep, was of the European type, which is also used in West Africa, where the frame is nine inches wide, and is hung from a branch of a tree.
Although some cloth weaving was done by Potters, the principal weavers who worked for hire were men of the Berawa caste, the present tom-tom beaters, to whom the people of better castes were accustomed to hand their yarn for the purpose. Coloured cloth of various interlacing patterns, as well as white cloth, was made in the villages by these people.
Indian weavers formerly settled on the west coast at Chilaw and elsewhere, but I am not aware that cotton cloth is now manufactured in the villages of the interior, although many people understand the work. It is still made at Batticaloa to a very small extent.
For Mat-weaving a long frame is used by the men of the Kinnara caste only, and the work performed by them is slow and laborious. No shuttle is used for it, but each strand, consisting of three or four fine strips of grass or fibre, is drawn towards the operator across the Niyanda strings of the warp at the end of a long thin flat stick, which is pointed at the end and has a hole there through which the grass is threaded after the stick has been pushed through the warp. The stick is then used for pressing it tight against the previous strand. This may be a relic of the original method of cloth weaving. A clue to the district from which these people came may perhaps