The lost art of Tibetan knife-makingAugust 29th, 2011 - 9:29 am ICT by IANS
Beijing, Aug 29 (IANS) A 62-year-old man from Tibet’s Xigaze prefecture is perhaps one of the last exponents of a lost art - that of making knives the Tibetan way.
Tsedan Wanggye from Lhaze county of the prefecture recently attended the Xigaze Culture Exhibition for the first time and displayed his art, the China Daily reports.
People from 18 counties took part in the exhibition, which was part of the 9th Qomolangma Culture and Tourism Festival.
Though there were not many visitors in the morning hours, Tsedan and his sons every day started making knives at their exhibition booth.
He welcomed everyone who walked into their booth with a big smile. Visitors sometimes got lucky when they got to have a cup of Tibetan butter tea.
His eldest son Nyema said a small Tibetan knife costs about 600 yuan ($93) and a whole set of four costs 3,500 yuan (around $550).
Nyema said the price of the Tibetan knives his family makes is usually twice the price of those that others make.
“That’s probably because our knives are the most sharpest”, he said.
Made from copper, Tsedan Wanggye’s knives should be wrapped by at least three layers of bull skin while being carried so as not to hurt anyone, he said.
“And also all of our knives are elaborately hand-made”, said Nyema.
Tsedan is a fifth generation successor to the craft of Tibetan knife-making.
“Our hometown, Lhaze county, produces the best Tibetan knives”, he said proudly.
“Among the three families in our county who mainly make Tibetan knives, we are the best”, he claimed, displaying the medal and certificate awarded to him by the ministry of culture in 2009.
Tsedan’s 12-member family earned 100,000 yuan last year by making knives alone. Other than knife making, the family also has farmland to earn a living.
Tibetan knives are adorned with handles made of bull horns, antelope horns, wood or metal. Knife sheaths are made of animal hides, bull horns, metal or wood.
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Tags: animal hides, antelope horns, bull horns, butter tea, china daily, eldest son, exhibition booth, exponents, farmland, fifth generation, generation successor, knife sheaths, medal and certificate, member family, ministry of culture, nyema, prefecture, qomolangma, xigaze, yuan