Join Date: Dec 2008
Hi Rand and others,
I have been following this post but been too busy to give it the attention it deserved.
The description does say that it is a Ceylonese Piha-Kaetta Hilt and not a full knife of this type. The blade form would be rare for Ceylonese knives though I have seen two; one with an ivory hilt. However, the blade does not conform to Piha-Kaetta or the Kandyan knife forms. [The term Piha-Kaetta is incorrect and meaningless in the vernacular but am not using it in the vernacular sense]
The hilt is extremely interesting. A closer examination makes it clear why the Ceylonese appellation was given. The hilt design shows an interlocking knot consisting of four figures between two forward facing female figures.
I have attached two sketches of the female figures from the hilt under discussion to make it easy to discuss. Please note ....very rough sketches.
However, see the attached images from the Hanguranaketha Palace or what remains of it from the book 'Diyathilaka Nuwara' written in Sinhalese. The palace was destroyed thrice and the last time in the early 19th century.
The next three are from the large pommel of a knife made of bone? with a backward facing female figure.
Both females in the sketches from the knife under discussion are in frontal view, bare breasted, arms pronated, with elaborate head-dress and are similar to the Hanguranketha examples and the knife pommel illustrated.
In between the female figures of the knife under question is a knot formed out of four figures. This is a regular feature in Ceylonese art. More common with female figures but also with male figures this knot involves multiple interlocking figures. Again I have attached a knot of seven human fgures this time in a circular motif from the book 'Sinhala Desika Wishwakoshaya'.
Surrounding these figures are the floral or wave forms that we are familiar with in the so called piha-kaetta hilt.
Hence, though unusual, the hilt shows Ceylonese origin with of course European influnce in the Cherub. Whether it can be called Piha-Kaetta ... the term is so confused that I shall not attempt to answer that one.
Hope this information is useful and of interest.