- Dated: late 18th or early 19th century
- Culture: Tibetan
This could be classified as one of most unusual and beautiful Tibetan knives. The form of this weapon is very different from the more common types which generally have a straight tapering blade. The blade on this piece is slender and curved, the back edge is thick and chamfered towards a ridge along the spine. At the same time, the blade tip has a sharpened back edge while the forte of the blade where it meets the hilt has a ricasso/unsharpened area where the finger can lie when in use.
The hilt is of approximate cylindrical shape, the grip covered with thick leather/hide, the upper and lower mount of beautifully chiselled and pierced steel is overlaid with gold. There are visible motifs within the intertwining tendrils of decoration which include an animal to the lower, a bird to the upper, and a taotie or dragon face to the pommel with a loop for an attachment. There is a small guard present of oval shape with a decorative border.
The sheath is decorated with gold or gilt animals including a tiger and a lion, these finely made animals sit between panels of thick silver chiselled with high scrollwork and engraving. Turquoise, coral and other semi precious stones further decorate the front and back, set into gilt bands which are finely engraved. Interestingly the chape form of the sheath resembles those found on Kukris from Nepal and along with the general form of the blade and overall knife shape might suggest a Nepali influence on the piece.
Source: © 2013 Ashoka Arts