A rare type of Sinhalese dagger with stylized bird hilt and blade with backedge.
Rattan, lacquer, pigments, copper, gold
Sri Lanka, Matale district
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An antique Sinhalese walking cane, made of a light and relatively flexible rattan. It is lacquered in a style known as "Mātale work" or Niyapoṭen vēda (නියපොටෙන් වේද) or "finger-nail work". This distinctive type of lacquer is applied entirely without the use of brushes.
For an in-depth article on this type of work, see my article: Sinhalese lacquer work.
The top is capped with a detachable gilt-copper cap with floral engravings.
The decoration at the very top consists of stylized petals, called palā peti. Then collor plain lines; ādāra-koṇḍu, and dots; bin̆duva. Then follows a band of circles and squares called dẹla, or "net".
Then follows various plain sections with black or red background, decorated with bands of ādāra-koṇḍu and bin̆duva, and one more instance of dẹla on a black background.
One decorative element appears twice and eludes classification at this point: It consists of a series of wavy lines in yellow and red on a black background. The effect somewhat resembles marbling in books.
Some damage to the lacquer here and there, but generally in fairly good shape.
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With carved horn hilt and characteristic finger guard.
Rarely seen today, a commoner's example with carved, bone hilt.
A beautiful black coral hilted example, made in the King's workshops.
Of the chopper variety, with a finely carved ivory hilt.
Of nice quality, with unusual openwork silver bolster with serapendiya.