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Sri Lankan Silver & Ivory Mounted Piha-Kaetta Dagger & Scabbard

Sri Lanka
18th century

length in scabbard: 33cm, weight: 523g



UK art market

This is a fine example of an eighteenth century piha-kaetta. The hilt is of ivory with a beautiful mustard-yellow patina finely carved and detailed with a liya-pata pattern. The end of the hilt is encased in a broad rounding of silver that has been chased with typically Ceylonese scrolling foliage patterns, and surmounted by a gilded, spherical tang finial. The hilt is further embellished with fine diamond-shaped leaf motif plaques in silver.

The iron blade is straight with a single edge.

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. The end of the scabbard is carved as a stylised serapendiya bird head.

Click here to see a related example in the Victoria & Albert Museum.

This piha-kaettais in very fine condition. There are no losses and no repairs. Overall, this is a particularly beautiful example.


Caravana, J. et al, Rites of Power: Oriental Weapons: Collection of Jorge Caravana, Caleidoscopio, 2010.

Hales, R., Islamic and Oriental Arms and Armour: A Lifetime’s Passion, Robert Hale CI Ltd, 2013.

De Silva, P.H.D.H & S. Wickramasinghe, Ancient Swords, Daggers & Knives in Sri Lankan Museums, Sri Lanka National Museums, 2006.

Weereratne, N., Visions of an Island: Rare works from Sri Lanka in the Christopher Ondaatje Collection, Harper Collins, 1999.

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