Language: Sinhalese
Source: Standard literature


Paṭṭal Hatara or "Four Workshops"

"The best of the higher craftsmen (gold and silversmiths, painters and ivory carvers, etc.) working immediately for the King formed a close, largely hereditary, corporation of craftsmen called the Paṭṭal-Hatara (Four Workshops); These men worked only for the King, unless by his express permission (though, of course, their sons or pupils might do otherwise); they were liable to be continually engaged in Kandy..." 1

-Ananda Coomaraswamy, 1908

Originally just one paṭṭala (workshop) called the Ābharaṇa paṭṭala or "Regalia Workshop", they later got divided into four, namely:

  • Ābharaṇa paṭṭala or "Jewelry Workshop"
  • Oṭṭuna paṭṭala or "Crown Workshop"
  • Rankaḍu paṭṭala or "Golden Sword Workshop", the armory.
  • Siṃhāsana paṭṭala or "Lion Throne Workshop", mainly painters and ivory carvers.

Craftsmen could move from one paṭṭala to another depending on what they were working on. A place in the Paṭṭal Hatara was usually hereditary, craftsmen coming from the most prominent families of craftsmen. It was a high position that according to Coomaraswamy came with considerable reward and was thus much desired. 2


Sinhalese lacquer work on a fine Sinhalese patisthānaya from the King's Four Workshops.
Sold by Mandarin Mansion in 2019.


A Sinhalese kasthané made in the Rankaḍu paṭṭala.
Author's collection.

Further reading

Article: Sinhalese lacquer work

1. See Ananda K. Coomaraswamy; Medieaval Sinhalese Art, Pantheon Books, New York, Second Edition of the 1908 original, 1956. Page 55.
2. Ibid. Page 56. 

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


With carved horn hilt and characteristic finger guard.


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


With gold koftgari decorated hilt.


The hilt with remains of silver plating.


From the knife-making center of Bhera in the Punjab, using finely polished serpentine.