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Language: Sinhalese
Source: Standard literature


Patura is the Sinhalese term for a decorative motif that consists of elongated triangles with two sides of equal length. In geometry, these are called isosceles triangles.

It is one of the most recognizable elements of Sinhalese lacquer work and are frequently seen on shafts and bows.



Patura lacquer work decoration on the shaft of a Sinhalese patisthānaya.
Sold by Mandarin Mansion in 2019.



Close up of the patura lacquer work decoration on the shaft of a Sinhalese patisthānaya.


Overview of Sinhalese decorative lacquerwork


Lacquered staff

Upper part of a lacquered staff.
From colored drawings by Ethel M. Coomaraswamy.

The above image shows two sections of Sinhalese lacquered staffs. The decorative motifs are as follows:

A. Vẹlpota or pāhaḍe vẹlpota
B. Ādāra-koṇḍu
C. Gal-bindu or mori binduva
D. Kola vẹla ("leafy branch") or kaḷas-dangaya
E. Pāhaḍe or palā peti
F. Lanu-dangaya
G. Patura
H. Bō-kola ("bō-leaf")
K. Binduva or tani binduva 2


1. See Ananda K. Coomaraswamy; Medieaval Sinhalese Art, Pantheon Books, New York, Second Edition of the 1908 original, 1956. Page 216-217.
2. Ibid. Explanation of plate XXIV.

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A beautiful black coral hilted example, made in the King's workshops.


Of the chopper variety, with a finely carved ivory hilt.


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.