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Old 2nd November 2017, 10:26 AM   #18
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
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Salaams Jim and thank you for that...I recall one distant thread unrelated to this which I noted the detail concerning the Royal Workshops and its caste system of artisans making such beautiful iconic items such as the Piha Kaetta and the celebrated Kastane. In fact such was the involvement in caste structure that I thought perhaps Caste was a shortened derivative of Castane ...and I am still not convinced. Readers may be intrigued by the Royal Workshop situation and read at post 13 the details on ~

Such is the workmanship on Piha Kaetta that they must have come from such an expert line up of craftsmen...and it is noted that a very strong contingent came from South India and that even in the 18thC much liaison and inclusion of specialists was drawn from there. It is clear that this weapon is very much a home grown item and daggers from the 15th C. are known. Some achieve almost sword like dimensions.

I note from the Victoria and Albert Museum on ~ Quote" [B]

The pihiya or piha kaetta was a hand knife of often delicate workmanship from Southern India and Sri Lanka. It was commonly carried in an ornate scabbard as a personal accessory and sometimes also included a stylus for writing on palm leaf. The degree of decoration often signified the rank or status of the individual and ornate knives were presented to individuals as tokens of esteem."Unquote.

Of interest I note that the peculiar turned up snout like projection on the end of the scabbard is in fact a parrot head.This ties in with the original bird shaped hilt.

Down the ages it is fascinating how the original birdlike hilt transformed into an almost impossible to define amorphous dimension perhaps fitting better into the hand as a weapon. Whilst this would be very effective in a downward strike it has not yet been confirmed if this was a badge of office like the Kastane or a fighting knife?...Certainly the type of blade reinforcement sometimes noted in other regions as a Tunko would point to a practical asset on this as a fighting blade, however, also often carried was a kind of pen or stylus illustrated earlier and noted above, adorned in silver, looking like a spike but used by scribes? to write religious verse on leaves...Was this weapon therefor a type of tool carried by Buddhist monks as well as a mark of status for other wearers of this Icon?
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