Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Knife (cutting tool)

Knife (cutting tool)

  • Place of origin:

    Sri Lanka (made)

  • Date:

    18th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

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.

Place of Origin

Sri Lanka (made)


18th century (made)



Object history note

As originally arranged and displayed in Exhibition Road Indian Museum galleries until 1955, with some additions while in storage, case F.696

Descriptive line

Tamil hand knife (piha kaetta) with a broad heavy chopping blade; piha khetta; Arms, steel silver horn, inlaid, Sri Lanka, C18

Labels and date

Knife: steel blade & mount partly inlaid & encrusted with chased silver; hilt carved horn & chased silver; Ceylon, 18 cent.
187-1897 I.S. [pre 1993]


Arms & Armour


South & South East Asia Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.