Travel Guide

Lhatse Tibetan Knife

Commonly recognized as the first brand among all kinds of Tibetan Knife, Lhatse Knife has long been holding a good reputation out there so that a great many people from everywhere are attracted here to purchase this famous knife produced in Lhatse, Tibet. However, there are actually only two real inheritors who can forge the unique Lhatse Knife. Generally speaking, it often takes about 7 days to forge a relatively large Lhatse Knife while it can only be produced two or three knives just in one day, which is even inadequate to supply to local Tibetan people.

Quenching is the most important step in forging a Tibetan knife:

Lhatse Tibetan knife is noted for tartness. However, it is not that easy to achieve this. It is easy to simply require a sharp knife only if the steel of blade can be good enough. But if to forge with the already cast and shaped steel that contains a high quantity of steel, the blade will be easy to be broken.

Therefore, the forging of Lhatse Knife is to make irons be toughened and hardened into steel but just toughen and harden it into steel completely, or they can directly choose the formed steel instead of hundreds times of repeatedly temper. According to reports, the standard of a good knife is to have a rigid blade. The higher the steel content is, the harder the blade will be and the sharper the knife will be as well. However, if the back edge is also made of hard steel that contains a lot steels, it will cause the phenomenon that over rigidity results in easy-broken. As a result, the back edge usually requires higher content of irons in order that the blade has enough elasticity while the cutter edge has adequate toughness. A knife with the both features can achieve as sharp as cutting clean through iron as though it were mud and won’t be broken. To achieve this goal, all the tricks are in the process of thousands times of quenching and tempering. Consequently, it is too hard to systematically inherit the manufactures of Tibetan knife but can only rely on thousands times of practice.

In addition to the features mentioned above, the unique Lhatse Dragon Knife has another striking feature of magnetic.

The inheritor of Lhatse Dragon Knife has been reputed as the Father of Lhatse Dragon Knife. Lhatse Dragon Dagger forged by him was provided with the function of steel flint and converging irons and steels, which means it is magnetic. The current forging method is generally made of the molding steel but steel is unlikely to become magnetic and only iron can possess this function. It is speculated that the dagger the inheritor produced is magnetic may be related to its quenching process. The industrious Tibetan people have formed a set of unique style after thousands of years of practice and experience accumulation, among which quenching is one of the most distinctive procedures. A lot of Tibetan knife makers don’t have so many differences in hammering process but will add their own developed “secret recipe”, for instance, some people will add yak butter, antelope blood or Myrobalans when quenching to obtain various characteristics by different additives.

It is understood that Lhatse Knife has officially registered trademark and established cooperative. Since then, they began to recruit apprentices and carry on some process reforms at the same time. By combining with modern mechanized production, they have launched some market-oriented species that maintained characteristics of Tibetan Lhatse Knife and meet the taste of market meanwhile, which enables more people purchase the authentic Lhatse Knife and adds vitality to the life of Tibetan Lhatse Knife.

When the cold weapon in the Central Plains has been buried in the mud of years, Tibetan knife still was still active on the whole Tibetan plateau. From the initial production life and self-defense to the need of decoration later, Tibetan knife has run though out the entire history of Tibetans.

There was a period of time when sword was regarded as a kind of fierce weapon alerted old Tibet aristocracy and the headmen of the guard. In order to consolidate their ruling, they threatened all herdsmen to turn over the knife by force. Nevertheless, Tibetan knife had already integrated into the veins of this nationality. A hero finally rose up against them and ultimately outnumbered though, his name has survived. The vast Tibetan Plateau enjoys an extensive land and rich resources. People living in different regions have their own unique habits during the long years and the types of Tibetan knife also blossomed altogether, among which Lhatse Tibetan Knife is undoubtedly the most famous “brand”. In the former and latter part of Tibet region, there spread a legend like this: Lhatse Tibetan knife and the Tongmen Tibetan knife are derived from the same source. Nowadays, however, there are also two different varieties including two kinds produced in two different towns.

The characteristics of Tibetan knife in different regions:

So called Lhatse knife and Namling knife are both representatives of the Tibetan knife in the former and latter parts of Tibet. Lhatse and Namling are located in the southwest of Shigatse, upstream of Yarlung Zangbo River with high elevation and rich mineral resources. Workmen here mainly focus on the blade and practicality of the knife. From the scabbard to hilt are almost made of metals, mainly silvers and irons. Due to its special skills of forging, both Lhatse knife and Namling knife share the reputation of “sharpness”. Usually, the scabbard and hilt will not be inlaid with jewelry but irons or silvers and some will even be engraved on some auspicious patterns.

Areas near Nyingchi Prefecture in the east of Tibet are full of dense forests and surrounded by high mountains where people live off the mountains so that felling and hunting is an ordinary fare. The knives they often use are mainly wide and long with wooden sheath enwrapped with animal skins. The knife in addition to hunt and fight is more used to remove obstacles in the dense forests.

The Amdo area focuses on grazing so that their knife is mainly used for slaughter and eating meat with strict divisions between men and women. The bottom of sheath and the end of hilt are upturned and boat shaped. Normally, Amdo people are fond of jewelry, headwear, brooches and waist decorations, looked brightly shining. When all these ornaments are used on the knife, it seems like an exquisite work of art.

People of Kham region always present rough and straightforward characteristics so that what knife is to them is mainly a kind of weapon for fight. They love their knife even more than yaks and sheep since they regard a good knife as a treasure and their figure will also become great because of their knife. Just for this reason, they are not only strict with knife itself but possess a special liking for the external shape of knife that can set off their samurai spirit.