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Old 23rd September 2005, 02:15 AM   #1
Rich
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Default Another Puukko (I think ?)

Just got this. I think (?) an early Lapland Puukko. Sheath maybe
shoulder blade of small caribou? Blade is 3 " long. I think nice piece of
folk art. Any and all comments appreciated.

http://home.earthlink.net/~steinpic/lappuk.jpg

Rich S
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Old 23rd September 2005, 03:08 AM   #2
RobT
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Default Saami

Rich,
Actually I think your blade is called a Saami. The Puukko is Finnish while the Saami is from Lapland. (I think that Saami means Lap.) Your hilt and sheath are probably reindeer antler. I believe Radu had started a thread on these blades a while back so he can probably answer all your questions.
Sincerely,
RobT
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Old 23rd September 2005, 04:01 AM   #3
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I think you're right about the antler. Even a fetal caribou would have
a larger shoulder blade now that I think of it. I've been using "puukko"
for most any Scandinavian knife (probably incorrectly). I suspect the
blade is a commercial one rather than hand forged. I guess I'll have to
start a Sammi collection to go with my Finnish puukko :-)

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Old 24th September 2005, 12:01 AM   #4
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Default Beautiful piece of Puukko

This can be a Saami or Finnish puukko made by a laplander in Finland anyway.
Not all laplanders belong to the Saami culture.

Beautiful since it´s truly handmade and you don´t see those very often even if living here in Finland.
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Old 17th April 2008, 10:03 PM   #5
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Greetings.

just search for puukko threads here and noticed this one. Being a Finn I can verify that there is no such thing as a knife called "Saami". That is just the name of the original ethnic people who live in Lappland. The knife they use is a specimen of puukko with a heavier and longer blade than the usual puukko´s to be found in the southern parts of Finland. They are like this because they are used for multiple tasks like wood cutting and smashing the bones of killed reindeer. For that reason these knives are not so handy for little chores as the usual puukko and it aint unusual to see that there is a smaller puukko in the same sheath with the bigger knife for those small chores.

Here we call the puukko of the Sami-people a "leuku".

Here´s a pic where you can see the combo I mentioned earlier in the middle ones on the top row.

Picture courtesy of Iisakki Järvenpää Oy
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Old 19th April 2008, 03:30 AM   #6
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Default what's it called in Lap?

Hi Jussi M,
Perhaps in Finland these blades aren't called Saami but that is a commonly used term for them here in the States and, as I stated in my reply, I thought the name was that of the Lap people. You have been kind enough to tell us what the Finns call this Lapland knife (and provided examples of what I believe to be Finnish made interpretations of the type). Perhaps you could also let us know what the Laplanders call it?
Sincerely,
RobT
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Old 19th April 2008, 03:41 AM   #7
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Nice little knife. I just picked this up from a Finnish knife maker today.

Lew
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Old 19th April 2008, 09:39 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobT
Hi Jussi M,
Perhaps in Finland these blades aren't called Saami but that is a commonly used term for them here in the States and, as I stated in my reply, I thought the name was that of the Lap people. You have been kind enough to tell us what the Finns call this Lapland knife (and provided examples of what I believe to be Finnish made interpretations of the type). Perhaps you could also let us know what the Laplanders call it?
Sincerely,
RobT


Hi Rob,

There are 4 completely(!) different Sami-languages (South-, Torne-, Lule- and North-Sami) .
So unfortunately there isn't any generic Sami name for the Sami knife.
Of course you could agree to call it "Saami" in the US. But that's like us in Europe agreeing to call all Bowie knives "Cowboy".
Which work fine between ourselves but maybe looks a bit strange on an international forum?
Also the Sami are living outside Lapland.

Michael
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Old 19th April 2008, 10:47 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobT
Hi Jussi M,
Perhaps in Finland these blades aren't called Saami but that is a commonly used term for them here in the States and, as I stated in my reply, I thought the name was that of the Lap people. You have been kind enough to tell us what the Finns call this Lapland knife (and provided examples of what I believe to be Finnish made interpretations of the type). Perhaps you could also let us know what the Laplanders call it?
Sincerely,
RobT


Hi Rob,

thanks for your clarification, I´ll try my best. First of all you should know that I am far from being a puukko expert With that in mind lets proceed.

First a few clarification regarding terms. - By Laplander I understand people who live in Lapland. Not all of them are Sami people as in general a Laplander here (speaking broadly of whole Finland now) means someone who is from and lives in the rural upper regions of our country. So, we have "regular" Laplanders and we have the Sami people who differ from the major population genetically, just like your Native Americans in USA. There are also both Swedish and Norwegian Laplanders and Sami people too.

Getting back to the knives again, you wanted to know what the Sami people call their knives? In all honesty I can not tell you for sure if the below descriptions are 100% correct as they are gleamed from written Finnish sources and I do not speak any Saame nor do I personally know anyone who does. Nevertheless I believe these names to be correct. If not, I stand corrected.

Please note that there are traditionally no middle size leukus as the middle sized knife would be lousy at all tasks: too small and light for acting as the cleaver a leuku is supposed to be and too bulky for being handy at small chores such as whittling. In the combos seen on the previous picture the small knives were all small enough to be used for small chores though they are not so handy as a "real" puukko that also come in Sami style (please see below)- Most of the leuku knives seen today are nothing more than souvenir for the typical tourists who would shun the right sized BIG knife and yet want a "real Lapland knife" not knowing what size it should be. Of course there is variation in size but the most typical leukus have circa 6-10 inch blades.

FINNISH: Lapinpuukko = Laplanders puukko (often elaborately stylized)
SAMI: "unna niibaš"(also "buiku" which translates to puukko)







FINNISH: Leuku or Lapinleuku (the later phrase Lapinleuku means "Leuku of Lapland" emphasizing the fact that it is a Laplanders big knife, this meaning that it really is a big blade)
SAMI: "stuorra niib" / "tuorraniib" ("stuorra" means big, "niib" means knife)

I hope I answered your Question satisfactorily. As previously said I am not a puukko expert nor am I any expert regarding Sami - peoples nor laplanders culture in general. I wrote my initial response from the perspective of a Finn who lives in Southern Finland. It is not uncommon to have new names for things when they are studied outside of their original cultures. Hence we Finnish call the Sami -people´s knife a Leuku even though they use the name "stuorra niib". If collectors outside Finland call the same knife a "Sami knife" or what´ll have you makes no difference as long it is understood what is meant and not meant by the name, be the name original to the artifact or not.

Thanks

Jussi
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Old 20th April 2008, 04:47 AM   #10
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Default Tough Example

Hi VVV,
Given the wide spectrum of knives called Bowie, if in Europe there is a custom of calling single edge generally clip point blades with a cross guard that were used in the north American west Cowboy knives, it would be hard to argue against that convention. I have seen Mexican and Philippine clip point blades sold here in the States as Bowies. I have seen English blades made in the late 1800s called Bowies that have a false back edge in lieu of a clip point. I have seen modern custom made knives with Turkish clip points sold as Bowies. As far as I can see the only two features that a Bowie must have is a single edge and a cross guard. That guard can be oval, flat, or serpentine and, as mentioned above, the blade doesn't necessarily have to have a clip point. Hilts can be; round and encompass the tang, coffin shaped or straight scales, subhilt fighters, with or without pommels (of any shape), with bolsters or ferrules behind the guard, etc. Nobody here in the States seems to take exception to this vague categorization so I imagine north American collectors would simply say, "over in Europe they call Bowie knives Cowboy knives". It isn't the same case with the Lapland knife which has a much more tightly defined set of design parameters. So, if there are four groups of Saami people, I'll bet there are only four names for that knife and if the four groups speak the same language, I'd be surprised if there is more than one name for the knife. For my part, stuorra niib offered by Jussi M sounds good.
Sincerely,
RobT
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Old 20th April 2008, 07:40 AM   #11
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Hi Rob,

Knife (the generic term) in the North Sami language, according to the official database of the Norwegian Sami "union", is:

"niibi - S, If
Inflects like: niibi - niibái - niibbiide"

In South Sami it's "nejpie" etc.

So if you use the name from the book of Jussi you could probably be understood by the North Sami.

In Norway and Sweden (= Scandinavian part) four different languages are spoken (depending on "tribe"/region)
among the Western-Sami.
In Finland and Russia, except of North Sami in Finland, the main Eastern-Sami languages
are the Inari-, Skolt-, Akkala-, Kildin- and Ter-languages.
This means that altogether 9 distinct Sami languages still remain today.
All of them with different names for the local knives.

Michael

PS Correction to above is that one of the four Western/"Scandinavian" Sami languages is called Pite-Sami,
not Torne-Sami as I erroneously wrote in the earlier post.

Last edited by VVV : 20th April 2008 at 09:31 PM. Reason: Added info and correction on Pite-Sami.
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Old 23rd April 2008, 03:45 AM   #12
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Default Full Circle

Hi VVV,
I am not entirely convinced that the differences of your examples when pronounced are as great as they appear when spelled out (i.e. the cognates dha and darb) but, for argument's sake I'll concede the point. We are then left without a commonly accepted name in Europe for this type if knife. Leuku isn't acceptable internationally because it is a Finnish word for a Lap knife. Puukko won't do either because it fails to distinguish between two stylistically different knives (and it has the same drawback as leuku). What could be more natural then to name the knife after the people it is closely associated with? We do this all the time with African pieces when the actual name of the item isn't known (witness Salumpasa or Yaka sword, Ovambo knife). What would be "strange" in an international forum about applying the same convention to a European piece?
Sincerely,
RobT
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Old 23rd April 2008, 04:25 AM   #13
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I say we just call it a sundang and be done with it!
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Old 23rd April 2008, 04:48 AM   #14
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It's a big knife and it's mainly used for butchering reindeer so getting into what each lapp group calls it can get quite confusing so unless there are specific styles made by these groups that can be recognized easily I do not see the point in calling it anything different. Bowie knives is a generic term for a large American fighting /butcher knives with different blade styles that changed in style and length between 1830-1900 but we still call them Bowie knives because that is the accepted name that the majority of collectors recognize. Btw Rob Bowie knives are not really cowboy knives they were originally very finely made knives more often carried by Southern gentlemen as a backup weapon due to the poor reliablity of firearms at that time.

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Old 23rd April 2008, 04:50 AM   #15
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RobT,
Sorry to disagree. We call African blades Tiv or Ngombe or whatever simply because we do not know what the real owners call them in their own societies and languages. Call it ignorance, laziness, condescension, Western imperialism or all of the above. Whenever we encounter new example, we should try to ascertain its native name: and if the Japanese, Dutch or Argentinians ( no particular reason for choosing those) do not want to call Leuku "Leuku", tough luck to them! It is a Leuku, and that's the end of the story. No less confusing than calling a Spanish folding knife " Navaja" or a Scottish sword " Claymore".
As per Eiler Cook, small ( women's) Lapp knife is called Trubnos, a bigger one ( utility) is Brukskniv, and the biggest one ( all-purpose) is a Storkniv in Sweden, Lapinleuku in Finnish and it is a Stournii'pe for the Lapps.

We ( I, for one) would love to know real names for a "Kerala knife", Naga two-handed sword, Afghani pseudo-shashkas, Bukharan " Khyber-like" sabers etc, etc.
It's just like the Rumpelstiltskin tale: you know the right name, you own the power over a thing.

Last edited by ariel : 23rd April 2008 at 05:24 AM.
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Old 23rd April 2008, 06:37 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobT
Hi VVV,
Leuku isn't acceptable internationally because it is a Finnish word for a Lap knife. Puukko won't do either because it fails to distinguish between two stylistically different knives (and it has the same drawback as leuku). What could be more natural then to name the knife after the people it is closely associated with?


Good morning,

it should be remembered that Sami people are Finnish (those who live in Finland). There is no such things as a Lappland-country or Sami-country. Also, they do not live in isolation from the rest of the people who live in Lappland. A leuku is as a traditional knife for the average Northern Fin as it is for a Sami. The origin of the design may be very well Sami. During the centuries it has become broadly accepted as the best overall tool for the conditions of North, never mind your ethnic background.

A leuku, lapinleuku or stuorra niibi is still a puukko even though it has a flare of its own. If someone wants to see it as it´s own thing thats ok, as in a way it is. Here it aint so and why would also the Sami call it the big (stuorra) knife (niib, puukko) if they wouldnt see it as just a knife (puukko)? Cultures and languages evolve. Maybe the only name used for this type of knife centuries ago when no other ethnic groups lived in the North of Finland was a stuorra niib, but why indeed use the suffix big? At this age the common name for this knife here in Finland is the leuku. Odds are that most people with Sami background called it as a leuku too. Why? - because the Sami language aint common no more. Most people outside Finland who recognize this type of knife do recognize it by other names than those of the Sami-language. - For the majority it´s just a Scandinavian knife, a Finnish knife, a puukko or a leuku. The few that have ever heard of anything resembling niib or stuorra niib are few and between and odds are most of these people can be found on this an other similar forums

Best

Jussi

Last edited by Jussi M. : 23rd April 2008 at 07:36 AM.
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Old 23rd April 2008, 07:07 AM   #17
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I agree of course with Jussi that the Sami are part of the country they live in and also use the local language.
Nowadays most of the Sami people live in Norway, followed by North America, Sweden, Finland and Russia (in that order).
A Puukko in Swedish or Norwegian is a kniv (= knife).
The names by Cook for Sweden are in Swedish, not any Sami language.
Trubnos should be spelled trubbnos and is implying that it doesn't have any sharp point (= dull muzzle).
Brukskniv translates to utility knife and storkniv means big knife.

Michael
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Old 24th April 2008, 04:12 AM   #18
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Default A good debate

Hi All,
I'll take the points in order of appearance.
Louieblades,
I didn't suggest getting into what each group calls it and I agree that approach could become confusing, that's why I suggested using Saami as a way of distinguishing this type of knife from the conventionally dressed puukko. As for Bowie knives (which is btw what I call them), they might have started out as a southern gentleman's side arm but they wound up being produced and carried by a wide range of socio-economic groups in the American west.
Ariel,
The preface of Tiv, Ngombe, etc is certainly a convention borne of ignorance but I don't see anything condescending or imperialistic about using the name of a group associated with an artifact to define that artifact. I have nothing against calling a leuku a leuku as long as it refers to the Finnish interpretation of the Saami knife but I don't think a knife in traditional Saami dress should be called by a Finnish name. To me that doesn't give proper due to the culture that originated the style. As for the examples navaja and claymore, navaja is a Spanish word for a Spanish knife and claymore is a corruption of the Scottish claidheamh mor or great sword so these names give proper credit to the groups they are associated with.
Jussi M,
I have noted that on ebay, all other things being equal, a blade in traditional Saami dress will fetch a considerably higher price than one in traditional puukko dress. The fact that buyers are making a distinction and are willing to pay a premium based on that distinction argues against your a puukko is a puukko is a puukko allegation. Using the name of the culture that produced the blade has nothing to do with national borders it is simply about attributing the object to the culture that originally made it. Since we have a rather broadly based precedent for using this convention, I don't see why this case should be any different.
Sincerely,
RobT
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Old 24th April 2008, 09:30 AM   #19
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Well Rob,

a leuku is a puukko from where I look at it and where I grew up - as most Finnish men of my age circa 40 years - being surrounded by them and was taught how to use it as a little kid by my now deceased grandfather. - A common story here.

In my opinion you cant really draw a specific line on what´s a Saami knife or what is a Northern Finnish knife as the styles and indeed the whole cultures between the ethnic groups have been mixing for a long time. So, somebody who argues that a knife is a 100% Sami knife may have a different perception from someone other of what actually makes a knife a Sami knife and what doesnt

It is difficult to discuss what something should be named before there is a joint understanding of what the discussion is all about in the first place. So please Rob, could you describe what is a Saami knife and what makes it so different from a Northern Finnish Leuku?

I just have a feeling that we might just have a slightly different perception here, thats all. Maybe David got it best:

Quote:
Originally Posted by David
I say we just call it a sundang and be done with it!




Thanks,

Jussi
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Old 28th April 2008, 02:46 AM   #20
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Default Knives of Finland pg 24

Hi Jussi M,
Sorry for not getting back to you more promptly. Page 24 of the Knives of Finland by Lester C Ristinen shows a set of three knives captioned, "Knives of Lappland by Lauri Tuoteet". These, although of recent manufacture, illustrate features I consider to be Saami rather than Finnish. The lower portion of the sheath is reindeer and has a pronounced bend to it. The hilt is also reindeer and is without a ferrule. In cross section the hilt is oval and it tapers slightly from the flat pommel to the blade. Both the hilt and the lower portion of the sheath are decorated with incised designs. The upper portion of the sheath is leather, tapered slightly to accept the hilt. I haven't provided the picture because I don't have permission to use it.
Sincerely,
RobT
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Old 28th April 2008, 03:19 AM   #21
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I have heard and seen this discussion many, many times.

But usually the subject matter is some cutting implement from South East Asia.

Over the years I have come to think of this obsession with classification as "The Name Game".

In my own field of keris and SE Asian weaponry I have long opted for the use of English names for things where an English name can be used, and where I am using English. Most especially do I endorse this approach for those things which are foreign to the person I am in discussion with. If I am in discussion with somebody in Indonesia I will use the Indonesian terms, and if I am in discussion with somebody in Jawa, a part of Indonesia, I will use the Javanese terms. If I am in discussion with somebody in Australia I will use the English terms.

I really do not understand why it should be necessary to use a foreign word to describe something when there is a perfectly good English word that will do the same job.

However, if we do wish to classify a knife, or any other object, from a foreign source, I believe that some care should be taken in so doing. Thus, a classificatory approach could be, for example :- a knife, probably from the Kauhava region of Finland and commonly referred to in that place as a puukko. In the case of a written record, this classification should be dated, and if available, a reference for the classification given.

In normal English language discussion such a knife could be referred to as a "Finnish knife".

I have often heard the counter argument put that we should use the correct name from point of origin, even though we are speaking, or writing, in English, but what legitimacy is there to using the "correct" native name, when as English speakers we can neither pronounce the word correctly, nor understand the cultural connotations that are attached to the word? To us, it is a knife. Just that.
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