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In Tibet, everyone may wear a waist knife. This custom is decided by their lifestyles. Usually, Tibetan people carry knives for cutting beef and mutton which are their major meat. In another way, Tibetan knife is a kind of accessory of Tibetan people, just played the same functions as rings or bracelets.
Tibetan knife enjoys an international fame for a long time. This elaborate Tibetan handcraft carries a high art value. Tibetan knives represent the profound Tibetan ethnic culture to the world. Tibet knifes that design for the use of men are usually rugged. On the other hand, those designs for the use of women are elegant.
Appearance of Tibetan knife
Generally, Tibetan knives can be divided into three types according to their lengths – long, short and small knives. The long Tibetan knife can be more than one meter, the short one is about 40cm while the small one is 10cm around.
Tibetan knife is famous for its sharp blade which is made from delicately processed steel. Another highlight of the Tibetan knife is the handle. The handle is made from more than one material. The main part is made from cow horn or wood, decorated with silver, copper or iron threads. The top of the handle is inlaid with copper or iron sheet, or silver decoration. The sheath is wrapped in copper or silver. Some are carved with flower or animal design, or even inlaid with jewels. This outstanding appearance makes Tibetan knife being not only a essential tool for Tibetan people, but also a collection for people all of the world.
Functions of Tibetan Knives
The Tibetan knife is not only a tool to cut meat during dining time. It has many roles in Tibetan people’s life.
Firstly, the essential function of Tibetan knives is used as a tool for dining. Tibetan people prefer beef and mutton. During meal time, Tibetan people will use their knives to enjoy their meals. In some places, knives serve as plows and the locals still rely on the slash-and-burn method.
Another function of Tibetan knives is used as weapon. This is decided by the historical factor that Tibetan soldiers used these knives to fight with the invaders in the war happened in the beginning of 20th century.
In nowadays, Tibetan knives are worn by people as an adornment. Tibetan artists use various materials to make the elaborate Tibetan knives. And it is also made according to the gender of the host. Men’s Tibetan knives tend to be more curly and sharper while women’s are delicate.
Classifications of Tibetan Knives
Classifications of Tibetan Knives
Although Tibetan knives may share a similar appearance, they also have difference according to their history. There are two famous Tibetan knives called: Gus Knives and Gyirab Knives.
Gus knives appeared during the period of Tubo King Zhigung Tsampo. According to Historical Records of the Hans and the Tibetans, Gus knives were made by nine brothers with small eyes in an environmentally fierce place called Sidor. The eldest made a knife sharp enough to cut a rope ladder leading up to the heaven. His eight brothers all made knives with sharp blades as well.
One of the Gus knives was the Guda knife, made by the legendary master of the nine brothers together with his offspring.
Gyirab knives were made legendary by Mitotago in a forest known as Gyiyulhozha. These knives were sharp enough to cut down nine trees in one stroke.
The knives include: stone knives, sickles, scissors, shaving knives, small knives, short waist knives, long waist knives, nail cutting knives, butter knives, chopping knives, swords, pencil sharpeners, daggers, bosom knives, boot knives, sleeve knives, wisdom knives, botching knives, battle knives, jade knives, gold knives, silver knives, copper knives, wooden knives, white handle knives, scalping knives, dissecting knives, celestial burial knives, women's knives, men's knives, Bhutan knives, Gorga knives and Dege knives.