Piha-Kaetta Knife with Horn Hilt & Gold & Silver Mounts
Kandy, Sri Lanka
length of sheafed knife: 31cm, length of blade & hilt: 25.5cm
This is a particularly fine example of an eighteenth century piha-kaetta. The hilt is of horn finely carved and detailed with a liya-pata pattern. The end is encased in a broad rounding of gold that has been chased with typically Ceylonese scrolling foliage and fruit motifs, and surmounted by a spherical tang finial. The hilt is further embellished with fine scrolling leaf motif plaques.
The blade is straight with a single edge. The upper section is encased in thick silver that has been extravagantly chased with luxuriant swirling foliage motifs. This silverwork is particularly fine and precise among other
piha-kaetta knives that we have seen.
The scabbard is of two halves of grooved, light wood, the upper part of which has been encased in a band of thin, silver sheet.
piha-kaetta is in excellent condition. There are no losses and no repairs. It has a superb patina and overall, is a very fine example.
UK art market
Caravana, J. et al, Rites of Power: Oriental Weapons: Collection of Jorge Caravana, Caleidoscopio, 2010.
De Silva, P.H.D.H & S. Wickramasinghe,
Ancient Swords, Daggers & Knives in Sri Lankan Museums, Sri Lanka National Museums, 2006.
Visions of an Island: Rare works from Sri Lanka in the Christopher Ondaatje Collection, Harper Collins, 1999.
Inventory no.: 1398
to see another example of a piha-kaetta.