Many minority nationality people have a custom to wear a waist knife, so do the Tibetan people. It is an essential staff for all Tibetans. Usually, Tibetan wears a waist knife which is used to cut meat, as protection and also an accessory. It also has high art value as a form of ethnic handcraft with a longstanding good reputation at home and abroad. 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.
There are three kinds- long, short and small knives. The longest one is more than one meter, the short one about 40cm and the small one over 10cm. Made from delicately processed steel, Tibetan knife is bright and sharp. The handle is made with cow horn or wood wound 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. Actually, they have become an arts and crafts item. Lhasa, Damxung, Lhaze, Yi'ong and Qamdo are well known for the production of the Tibetan knife, favored not only by local people, but also by domestic and foreign tourists. You can buy them in flea market or shops, their price are ranging from several bucks to several hundreds. The most famous Tibet knife is produced by RiKaZe. The design is very exquisite and not easy to imitate.
Tibetan Spirit Knife
Inspired by the mystical Tibetan Spirit daggers used to stab demons and ward off evil spirits during ancient Tibetan rituals. These knives were originally employed in necromantic ceremonies to exorcise or protect against evil demons that produced disease or death. The horrid head on the pommel represents the demon or fiend to be warded off and the fierce tiger heads on the guard are symbols to scare the demon away. This edged fantasy creation is presented with a solid wood wall display plaque and features finely detailed solid metal handle parts, medieval style wire-wrapped grip, and mirror-polished stainless steel blade. The Tibetan Spirit Knife is part of the Kit Rae Fantasy Art Collection and each piece is branded with the designer's trademark and includes a parchment certificate telling of the history of the Tibetan Spirit Knife.
Before Gus and Gyirab knives were produced, King Gesar, the longest epic in the world, already had segments praising Tibetan knives.
Variety of Knives
According to the Historical Records of the Hans and the Tibetans, Tubo was famous for two kinds of knives: 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.
Tibetan Knives of Shigatze
The typical Tibetan knives of the Shigatze area are from Lhaze and Xietoinmen, which has become a very fashionable souvenir or gift for tourists to take home. The shinning bright knife is a completely handmade of high quality steel.
If talking in shapes, there are pastoral area style, kamba style, and the Shigatze area style.
Knives are widely used for chopping down trees, for butchery, or even for the open-air burial (in Tibet).
The handle is normally made of ox horn, ox bone or wood. Some top quality ones are twined with silver strings or cupper strings. The scabbard tends to be more exquisite. Outside of the simple wooden or leather scabbard covers, copper or sometimes silver and even gold in nice designs of birds, animals, or grass and flowers can be seen. Some are even inlaid with precious stones, or colored stones, looking gorgeous and expensive.
The Lahze knife, with its beautiful appearance, sharp blade, and delicate and expensive scabbard, has long been recognized as an outstanding product.