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Old 28th October 2017, 07:36 PM   #1
drac2k
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Default Piha Kaetta off the bucket list

I've been looking for one of these priced reasonably, in decent condition for some time and I finally got one; nothing fancy, but I think a good honest piece.
The blade measures 8"x 1.75" at it's widest and the spine measures 7/16" at the base.
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Old 28th October 2017, 10:02 PM   #2
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And what an exceptionally lovely one!!! Congrats!
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Old 28th October 2017, 10:06 PM   #3
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Very nice piece .
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Old 28th October 2017, 10:11 PM   #4
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Yes, very hard to find in this condition! Good catch!
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Old 28th October 2017, 10:15 PM   #5
fernando
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With scabbard and all


.

Last edited by fernando : 28th October 2017 at 10:19 PM. Reason: spell
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Old 29th October 2017, 01:27 AM   #6
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Thank you all for the kind compliments!
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Old 29th October 2017, 10:17 AM   #7
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Not my area of collecting but this one is a very fine example, congrats!
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Old 29th October 2017, 07:10 PM   #8
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Beautiful knife, I have not seen one with a blade in such good condition. Well done.
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Old 29th October 2017, 07:16 PM   #9
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Beautiful knife, I have not seen one with a blade in such good condition. Well done.
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Old 29th October 2017, 07:50 PM   #10
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Aren't some of the Piha-Kaettas supposed to have blackened blade?
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Old 29th October 2017, 08:08 PM   #11
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I think that the blades were made from inferior steel and are prone to rusting.
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Old 29th October 2017, 10:40 PM   #12
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Yes bad steel plus because of the humidity everything is ruined very fast.
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Old 30th October 2017, 01:06 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drac2k
...nothing fancy, but I think a good honest piece.

LOL! Fancy enough. I have certainly seen much plainer examples. The hilt appears to be ivory. Are the mounts silver or some other form of white metal.
This is a complete and as you say "honest" example. A lot of times you don't find these with the scabbards. So i'd say you did well, especially if you found to at a reasonable price. One of these is on my bucket list as well, though i am a bit frightened that i might not be able to stop at just one.
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Old 30th October 2017, 04:40 AM   #14
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Once again thanks to all for the kind words.You are correct on all counts; the mounts are silver and the inlays are brass.
I believe that is the way we all started;"thinking we would only get one," of this or that.
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Old 1st November 2017, 07:51 AM   #15
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Here are a couple of examples .. The Royal Workshops would have several craftsmen expert in the various materials and would have carved in Horn, Ivory and Coral to name but 3. Is the picture showing a skewer as noted by the Met or is it a pen for writing on leaves? The Hilt on the right is Coral.
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Old 1st November 2017, 12:20 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
... One of these is on my bucket list as well, though i am a bit frightened that i might not be able to stop at just one.

Especially if you find a whole bunch of them in one only auction, David

Silver, brass, ivory, rhino horn ...
(Palácio do Correio Velho, 1989)

.
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Old 1st November 2017, 05:00 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
The Piha Kheata is a very interesting weapon.

In searching for a fine description I selected for what I consider as an excellent all round observation on this Sri Lankan Icon.

Note that this was produced in the Royal Workshops probably along side the Kastane and employing artisans of the highest calibre.

Quote" The most unusual feature of the piece is the style and material of its pommel which is cast from a single piece of brass, in the form of a Sinhalese mythical bird called the sérapéṅdiya. It's tail is connected to a brass, heavily silver-plated "sleeve" from which the blade emerges, as if it sprouted from the bird's tail. The sleeve is decorated with more liya-vęla, some flowers, and a number of intricate curls upon curls, again typical for Sinhalese work, called liya-pata. This elaborately worked sleeve is almost always present on Kandyan knives, but with many knives the handle doesn't represent the bird, at least not anymore.

Such sérapéṅdiya hilted knives are very rare. One, possibly the oldest, is published in Hales (2013) and is thought to date from as early as the 15th century. Hales suspects that the earliest forms all had the sérapéṅdiya head, and the hilt lost the bird shape in favor of ever more elaborate abstract forms later. Another, probably 18th century example is published in Deraniyagala (1942), which seems to have a horn or wooden hilt. According to De Silva & S. Wickramasinghe there are only five more in verious Sri Lankese museums."Unquote.

See below a weapon and accompanying pen for writing on leaves..



Ibrahiim,
Just wanted to thank you for adding this historical material and overview on these interesting knives. There is a relatively little material readily available on them, and it is much appreciated to have this research added here with this very nice example. For those of us interested in learning more on these weapons, it is great to have such a nice example paired with this data.

Last edited by Robert : 2nd November 2017 at 08:59 PM.
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Old 2nd November 2017, 11:26 AM   #18
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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 ~

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...WORKSHOPS+LANKA

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

http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O...g-tool-unknown/ ~ 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?

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 2nd November 2017 at 11:56 AM.
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Old 2nd November 2017, 07:10 PM   #19
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Hello all,

I know next to nothing about Phia Kaettas exempt I like this very nice knives very much. But let me ask a question, I've read now in this thread several times the word "weapon" in relation to them. To my eye this knives don't look like real weapons, I think that they from the shape look more like some sort of working knife, cutting betel for example. Is there in any way a clear agreement for what they get used? Excuse my maybe stupid question!
PS: the knife which started the thread is very very nice!

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 3rd November 2017, 03:11 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
Hello all,

I know next to nothing about Phia Kaettas exempt I like this very nice knives very much. But let me ask a question, I've read now in this thread several times the word "weapon" in relation to them. To my eye this knives don't look like real weapons, I think that they from the shape look more like some sort of working knife, cutting betel for example. Is there in any way a clear agreement for what they get used? Excuse my maybe stupid question!
PS: the knife which started the thread is very very nice!

Regards,
Detlef


Hi,
You are right, they are not weapons.
But it's also true that you can stab someone with a kitchen knife...unfortunately...
Also half of the rifles on this forum were used for hunting.
Please note that in an old post I mentionned that most probably near half of the weapons on this forum were never used to fight...
Best,
Kubur
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Old 3rd November 2017, 10:57 AM   #21
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Default pihā-kaetta

Although we already know that this knife was a presentation as well as social status Icon and probably not intended in this regard as a battlefield weapon...the fact is that we have no evidence of it being used in a fight but as already stated that doesn't make it a feather duster either!

An interesting side issue to the pihā-kaetta is the peculiar spike or stylus which is supposed to be for writing on palm leaves, however, "it is said that" the spike as a weapon is extremely dangerous and seen sheathed in the same scabbard as the pihā-kaetta ..

I gleaned from Sri Lankan friends here that the spike is called keynithuh and is very dangerous since it was often poisoned. It is also suggested that special forces carry this concealed weapon ...

I have also seen huge pihā-kaetta which may be viewed on video simply by typing in Piha Kaetta to web search and selecting the correct video.

In my view therefor it may well have been an Icon worn with honour as a badge of office etc and also used in the palm leaf writing situation but if required it may also have been used as a knife...for cutting string, killing chickens or as a weapon in a fight...
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Old 3rd November 2017, 11:19 AM   #22
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Please view~

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=765

~where at #10 there is an excellent description of the different dagger stytles...which I have pleasure in recording again here ...by Derek in 2005.viz;

Quote" Daggers possess a variety of names depending upon the material forming the hilt and the shape of the blade. Those with handles of rocks such as crystal (J.F. Pieris 1938) or green marble are "Gal Mita Pihiya", the delicate narrow blades are "Ul Pihiya", the curved ones are the "Vak Pihiya" , and the chopper form is the "Pihiya Kattha" The hilt is either straight with the pommel twisted downward towards the edge, or downward and then upward towards the reverse of the blade."Unquote.
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Old 3rd November 2017, 11:37 AM   #23
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Some Museum items ~ The Piha Keatta and Stylus from Met Museum at ~

https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/32248

The Met. gets right down to it and calls this spike a skewer! It is clearly designed to go with the dagger since it has a special hole slotted into the front of the scabbard. It is suggested that originally this form may have been for the fine art of writing on Palm Leaves so that what the dagger may have been for originally was for the purpose of cutting leaves.

The bird head original style hilt gave way to an amorphous blob highly decorated and beautifully carved in abstract form. Some scabbards show what is probably original form carved parrot heads at the end...similar to Kastane scabbards.
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Old 3rd November 2017, 05:24 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
Hi,
You are right, they are not weapons.
But it's also true that you can stab someone with a kitchen knife...unfortunately...
Also half of the rifles on this forum were used for hunting.
Please note that in an old post I mentionned that most probably near half of the weapons on this forum were never used to fight...
Best,
Kubur


Thank you Kubur,

but I really doubt that they would make a "good" fighting knife. What I have observed is that the ones without ricasso at the edge seems to be heavy used in the middle and the ones with are worn in the first third of the edge like it get something cut at the same place and same manner when you understand what I mean. I think Betel would be a good guess. This was also part in my previous request, is there known any solid based knowledge for what they get used regularly? And I have another statement about we should think about, there are so many fancy ones that I think it was worn by celebration and show the status also!?

Best regards,
Detlef
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Old 3rd November 2017, 09:12 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
Hi,
You are right, they are not weapons.
But it's also true that you can stab someone with a kitchen knife...unfortunately...
Also half of the rifles on this forum were used for hunting.
Please note that in an old post I mentionned that most probably near half of the weapons on this forum were never used to fight...
Best,
Kubur


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Old 3rd November 2017, 11:15 PM   #26
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Excellent Rick, and a perfect illustration of the nebulous boundaries between weapon and tool. As noted previously, the piha kaetta was used extensively in cutting stylus' for writing on leaves, the writing medium in lieu of paper, papyrus or other material. While these were typically court or well to do figures' knives and intended as suitably embellished accoutrements, much as court swords and the like, and they could certainly be used as weapons and with effect.

They seem to have been utility oriented as some are with accompanying kit items.

As well shown here, even a simple cutlery or kitchen item can become a weapon of opportunity, and present deadly results. On the frontiers, a knife was not only for dressing game and utility, but for self defense (or attack as the case might be). While the espada ancha, the hanger type sword worn by horsemen in northern Mexico and American Southwest are considered to be weapons, they were used more as machetes in chopping through heavy desert vegetation and chapparal. I really cannot think of any instance in period narratives which express their use in combat.
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Old 4th November 2017, 09:53 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
As well shown here, even a simple cutlery or kitchen item can become a weapon of opportunity, and present deadly results. On the frontiers, a knife was not only for dressing game and utility, but for self defense (or attack as the case might be). While the espada ancha, the hanger type sword worn by horsemen in northern Mexico and American Southwest are considered to be weapons, they were used more as machetes in chopping through heavy desert vegetation and chapparal. I really cannot think of any instance in period narratives which express their use in combat.


Yes and what about the kukri? Is it a machete or a weapon? Both I guess
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Old 4th November 2017, 10:54 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
Thank you Kubur,

but I really doubt that they would make a "good" fighting knife. What I have observed is that the ones without ricasso at the edge seems to be heavy used in the middle and the ones with are worn in the first third of the edge like it get something cut at the same place and same manner when you understand what I mean. I think Betel would be a good guess. This was also part in my previous request, is there known any solid based knowledge for what they get used regularly? And I have another statement about we should think about, there are so many fancy ones that I think it was worn by celebration and show the status also!?

Best regards,
Detlef



Please see #18 above where I outline with a quotation from a famous Museum ~ http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O...g-tool-unknown/ ~ Quote"

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. [B]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.
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Old 4th November 2017, 11:55 AM   #29
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Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 4th November 2017 at 06:20 PM.
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Old 4th November 2017, 12:12 PM   #30
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To broaden the style so far observed and to remind readers of detail already at Forum Library on this weapon...I place again here the Library detail. Viz;

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=765

Different Designs. I find it interesting that so many styles and sizes existed and in the case below so closely related to the Castane/Kastane as to suggest it was in this case virtually a Castane/Kastane Dagger...

Caveat to the below illustration ... The more I look at this the more I suggest that this is not a Piha Kaetta and that it has been rehilted with a Kastane hilt and with a replacement scabbard...and with a stylus with a wooden handle added. The blade may be a reworked Piha Keatta but the overall design looks concocted.

See https://3kberlin.de/2015/ein-piha-kaetta/ for details...
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Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 4th November 2017 at 12:52 PM.
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