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Very Fine Piha-Kaetta with Silver Mounts & Horn Hilt
Sri Lanka
18th century

length: 26.5g, weight: 200g

This is an unusually fine example example of an eighteenth century piha-kaetta. The hilt is of horn finely carved and detailed with a liya-pata pattern. The hilt's
end is encased in a broad rounding of silver that has been chased with typically Ceylonese scrolling foliage motifs, and surmounted by a spherical tang finial.
The hilt is further embellished with very fine diamond-shaped leaf motif plaques in silver.

The blade is straight with a single edge. The top of the blade is encased part of the way in thick silver that has been extravagantly chased with climbing vine    
motifs. That part of the blade nearest the handle is thickly encased with silver that has been extravagantly worked with fern-like tendrils.

The scabbard is of two halves of grooved, light wood, the upper part of which has been encased in thin, silver sheet decorated with broad bands of silver
filigree wire, applied granulation and other decoration.

This scabbard decoration is among the finest we have seen.

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

This
piha-kaetta is in fine condition. There are very minor losses to the filigree work on the scabbard and no repairs. The piha-kaetta has an excellent patina.
This is an exceptional example of this type.

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

Provenance:  UK art market

Inventory no.: 3204

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