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  Tibetan Knives  

The Tibetan knife is essential and indispensable to Tibetan daily life. Most Tibetans, male or female, carry knives. Indeed, knives have become a kind of decoration loved by boys and girls. Tibetan knives designed for men are usually rugged, while those designed for women are typically elegant.

Usually, Tibetans wear a waist knife that is used to cut meat, and can double as protection while also serving as an accessory. It also has high value as an ethnic handicraft with a longstanding good reputation at home and abroad.

There are three sorts of knives: long, short, and small. The longest ones are usually more than a meter, short ones are about 40 centimeters, and the small ones are just over 10 centimeters in length. In terms of shapes, there are pastoral styles, kamba styles, and the Xigaze-area style (described below). Knives are widely used for chopping down trees, for butchering animals, or even for the celestial burial in Tibet.

Made from delicately processed steel, Tibetan knives are typically quite bright and sharp. Handles are normally made of ox horns, ox bones or wood. Some top quality ones are entwined with silver or copper string. Sheathes, wrapped in copper or silver, tend to be more exquisite. Outside of the simple wooden or leather sheath covers, copper or sometimes silver or even gold in nice designs of birds, animals, or grass and flowers can be seen. Some are even inlaid with precious or colored stones, or even jewels. Just how expensive is up to the holder.

Actually, Tibetan knives have become artistic or craft items. Lhasa, Damxung, Lhaze, Yi'ong and Qamdo are well known for the production of the Tibetan knives, and are favored not only by local people, but also by domestic and foreign tourists.

Typical Tibetan knives of the Xigaze area are produced in Lhaze. The Lahze knife, with its beautiful appearance, sharp blade, and delicate and expensive scabbards, have long been recognized as an outstanding product and are a very fashionable souvenir or gift for tourists. Bright and sparkling, such knivees are handmade of high quality steel.

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