Uzbek knife. Pichak

A beautiful and useful souvenir from Uzbekistan

 

The famous Uzbek knife "pichak" ("pchak", "pichok") holds a special place not only in the kitchen, but also in the traditional art of Uzbekistan.

Original Uzbek pichak has wide blade on a relatively narrow handle. When grasping, fingertips will bear against the palm. This kitchen knife is very convenient when cutting vegetables and meat - the wrist gets tired less, and the grip is stronger.  "Disproportionality" gives a lever that allows spending less energy on shredding. Another feature of the Uzbek national knife is a specific sharpening, which one can easily fix on the heel of the bowl or a small cup - piala.

For a long time Uzbek knives were multifunctional. Indispensable aid in everyday life, pichak was a part of the traditional man costume. No reputable young dzhigit, no respectable elder left the house without an acute blade at his waist. It bearded special properties, and the power of an amulet. Even now people believe the knife under the baby pillow protects him from evil spirits, applying the blade on the head of the sick or to the bite of poisonous snake ensures the malaise would soon be gone.

In the East, unlike other cultures, it is acceptable to present knives. Masterfully made pichak with curly ornament and colored and patterned handle is still a valuable gift. According to the ancient custom, recipient should exchange a present for a coin to ensure pichak brings only happiness.

The blade of the Uzbek pichak has different shapes and sizes, depending on purpose:

  • "Kaiki" - a blade of perfect shape, the tip of the knife is as if turned up and looks up.
  • "Tugri  Pichok " has a straight, arrow-like blade.
  • "Tolbargi Pichok" - a knife, whose blade resembles a thin willow leaf.
  • "Hisori Pichok", "Kozoki Pichok" and "Bodomga Pichok" has almond-shaped blade tip.
  • "Soyly Pichok" and "Komalyk Pichok" has a single groove along the upper edge of the blade, and "Kushkamalak Pichok" - double.
  • "Norin Pichok" has a special blade best to cut the dough quickly and effectively.
  • "Cassob Pichok" - is a butcher knife with an exceptionally sharp blade.
  • "Bola Pichok" - a knife that is only a souvenir. The blade gets blunt quickly, and is impossible to sharpen.
  • "Chol-pichok" - a folding knife for the elderly.

Despite the variety of forms, any pichak is universal - it can, if necessary, cut flavored melon, ripe tomato and fresh meat.

Not only is the blade, but also pichak’s handle colorful and elegant. It can be smooth or ribbed, made from simple or very valuable materials.

  • "Dasta bag" - a handle made of hardwood or elephant, saiga and reindeer bone incrusted with gems, mother- of-pearl and silver.
  • "Herma dasta" - a handle combined of different parts and materials.
  • "Nakshinor Dasta" - decorated with floral patterns.
  • "Chilmichgulli dasta" - a handle inlaid with hats of colored tin studs.

Metal handles one decorates with chasing or engraving. Samarkand artisans are famous for cutting the ornamental heads of birds or animals at the end of the head.

There is no knife without scabbard. They are made of cloth decorated with embroidery, of carved wood, but more often - of brightly ornamented and embossed black leather. You can find brass and copper linings  with chasing or engraving on such scabbards.

Every respected artisan puts stamp on his product - "tamga". Since the Islamic calendar adheres to the lunar one, the main element of the "tamga" was the image of the stars and the crescent. Nowadays tamga often determines the city where the knife was made, while artisan initials are engraved on the knife side.

Ancient Uzbek center of an artistic metal processing’s  technique is the town of Chust in Fergana Valley. Local production made in a quarter of knives manufactures considered the best.

You can buy an Uzbek handmade pichak in large bazaars and handicraft shops in Uzbekistan (especially a wide choice of beautiful knives is in Bukhara, Chust, Shahrihane, Samarkand, Tashkent and Khiva).

Pichak is considered a good gift to a man - indispensable assistant and elegant oriental decoration. Great souvenir from Uzbekistan to use in everyday life.

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