Many timeless traditions in Sardegna tell an everlasting story. One of them is a protective work tool, a precious object handed down from father to son. The Sardinian knife: one of the best-known traditional elements of the island’s craftsmanship.
Since the Nuragic era, the blade was crafted out of flint and obsidian and has accompanied man throughout all the stages of his life. Over time, with greater knowledge of the natural elements, the advent of metallurgy, and fire control, the art of cutlery became an institution in Sardinian craft production.
A sharp steel blade and a handle made of mouflon or ram’s horn are the main characteristics of a Sardinian DOC knife, with the only accepted variants being ox horn and briarwood: plastic and resin are banned by Sardinian master cutlers.
An ancient and noble art that brings prestige not only to the hands that create these unique pieces but also to the communities in which they are born, so much so that the region of Sardinia has awarded the DOC mark to the three main types of the knife:
· The Pattadesa, born in the village of Pattada, with its thin, elongated lines, handle made strictly of mouflon horn and tapered blade of different lengths depending on its use;
· The Arburesa, the Arbus knife typical of Basso Campidano and the south of Sardinia, a wide-leafed blade, faithful companion of shepherds and hunters, belongs to the category of ‘monolithic’ knives as the curved handle is made from a single block of ram’s horn, cut ad hoc to fit and anchor the blade;
· The Guspinesa, or Guspini mozzetta, with its bulging shape and the identifying blunt blade was issued by the Giolittian decree of 1908, by which it was decided to eliminate the tip of the knife to limit, at least in part, its dangerousness in excessively animated disputes between those who always carried it in their pockets.
Particularly fascinating are the dictates imposed by tradition when giving a Sardinian knife as a gift.
In order to protect oneself from certain ill-fated wishes, the knife was purchased by offering the giver a small coin as a symbolic payment. It is forbidden to engrave any name on the blade or handle, as this would be the recipient of a hypothetical offence against the knife. Finally, the person giving the knife as a gift must open the package in which it is enclosed and grasp it, tightening one’s fingers on the edge of the blade, and then hand the handle to the recipient of the gift, showing respect and trust.