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Language: Sinhalese
Source: Standard literature


Tani binduva (තැනි  බින්දුව) or "plain spot" is the name for a Sinhalese decorative motif common in lacquer work that consists of diamond-shaped spots.It is also written as tæni binduva.

Also often simply called binduva (බිඳුව) meaning "drop, spot or speck".

Tani binduva

Tani binduva or binduva lacquer work decoration on a Sinhalese cane.
Sold by Mandarin Mansion in 2019.


Coomaraswamy mentions a related pattern that called gal-bindu (බිඳුව) or "stone drops" which looks like this:


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



The patisthānaya in full.


In a Sinhalese-English dictionary of 1892, bindu and binduva are said to be synonymous so perhaps the appearance of both patterns under different names in Coomaraswamy's work was unintentional.2


Overview of Sinhalese decorative lacquer work

According to Coomaraswamy:


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 (ගල් බින්දු) 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 (බිඳුව) or tani binduva (තැනි  බින්දුව) 3


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 216-217. For the definition of bin̆duva (බිඳුව) or "drops" see: Benjamin Clough; A Sinhalese-English dictionaryWesleyan mission press, Colombo, 1892. Page 423.
3. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy; Medieaval Sinhalese Art, Pantheon Books, New York, Second Edition of the 1908 original, 1956. Explanation of plate XXIV.

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Often called piha-kaetta, these knives were mainly made by 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.


With vintage silver mounted scabbard.