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Old 25th April 2009, 08:40 AM   #8
Jim McDougall
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Location: Route 66
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I'm with Rand and Rick in struggling to see the Ceylonese connection here, and the later blade which has nothing to do with Sri Lankan knives as far as I can see really adds to the distortion.
In focusing on the hilt, I agree with Rick in noticing the cant of the pommel which does correspond to the rather recurved styling of most pihaya hilts.
In that sense this would classify as a pihaya, which is described as a small ornate knife worn for decoration at the waist.

I am curious what the original blade must have looked like, as the pihaya kaetta blades were heavy and with extensive work on the back that usually followed en suite with the hilt. The upturned European style guard would not seem to lend well to that rather graceful effect.

The description of the chasework noting European style cherubs within the traditional themes along with the European style guard suggests perhaps this may have been a diplomatic item. Naturally, as Deraniyagala (1942) notes on p.110, "...ornate daggers were presented to individuals of royal esteem" . It may be that this item may have been produced by 'the Four Workshops' maintained by the kings in Kandy, influenced by the ever present Dutch and Portuguese powers, and which I understand ceased production in the early 19th century.

I would note that without the Ceylonese association specified, I would not look for that connection, but having been mentioned, these thoughts are mentioned toward possibilities for the unusual nature of the item.

All best regards,
Jim
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