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.