Language: Sinhalese


Liya-pata is a type of Sinhalese decorative work that is best described as a series of fine scrolls that are themselves covered in more tiny scrolls, and so on.

Liya-pata on knives.Liya-pata on the collar pieces of Sinhalese knives.


"This exceedingly conventional foliar ornament deserves particular study. It is more characteristic of Sinhalese design than any other form; instruction in the use of it is almost the first thing taught to young craftsmen."


"Work filled with it is called liya-pata-vẹḍa; a single element would be called gẹṭa-liya-pota..."

" occurs especially in knife handles (...) It is very characteristic for metal and woodwork, It is often found on wooden pillars at the transition from square to octagonal section. It is constantly used in the tails and crests of conventional birds and bird-like tails of mythical animals, and, in fact, everywhere."


Liya pata work on a Sinhalese knife handle

Elaborate Liya-pata on the ivory handle of a Sinhalese knife. 
My personal collection.


Ananda K. Coomaraswamy; Medieval Sinhalese art: being a monograph on medieval Sinhalese arts and crafts, mainly as surviving in the eighteenth century, with an account of the structure of society and the status of the craftsmen, Second Edition, Pantheon Books, New York, 1956. Pages 100-101.

Do you have anything for sale?

I might be interested in buying it.

Contact me

Often called piha-kaetta, these knives were mainly made by the King's Workshops.


With carved horn hilt and characteristic finger guard.


Of nice quality, with unusual openwork silver bolster with serapendiya.


Rarely seen today, a commoner's example with carved, bone hilt.


With gold koftgari decorated hilt.


The hilt with remains of silver plating.