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Old 8th January 2021, 05:33 PM   #1
Sajen
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Default 19th century corvo for discussion

My corvo collection is growing. I was able to add this possible very early corvo to the collection, the blade is less crooked as by my other examples, the complete knife is very big and all is very rustic worked. the original leather scabbard was very dry. The hardening of the edge is visible after polishing. the knife is 28,5 cm long.

Comments like always very welcome!
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Old 8th January 2021, 08:40 PM   #2
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Thanks for posting, Detlef!

Nice blade and great to have an old & traditional scabbard!

Regards,
Kai
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Old 9th January 2021, 11:24 AM   #3
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Thank you for comment Kai!

I have two others with scabbard, both are still in the States by my friend. One of them is also a very old one, the other one is around 1900.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 9th January 2021, 03:04 PM   #4
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A theory concering the age of the different corvos.

I've searched through old threads here and have seen that the ones which look fairly old and rustic worked has the tang in up, speak near the spine of the blade, see the attached pictures, all taken from old threads and two own examples.
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Old 9th January 2021, 03:08 PM   #5
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And here later examples where the tang is situated in the middle of the blade.
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Old 9th January 2021, 05:54 PM   #6
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These interesting knives have some fascinating history as part of the very complex history of Chile and one of the number of Spanish colonial countries of South America. We had some great discussion on them in Jul. 2015 where Ian added a great deal of comprehensive information.

Apparently these developed from the grape knife, which had a curved tip for cutting grapes from the vines. While the Spanish settled one of the key vineyard regions in Curico c. 1743, there were of course others and these grape knives seem to have become 'weaponized' by the 19th c.

In Peru and Bolivia there seems to have been disdain for these enlarged and larger bladed knives, which they derisively called 'cut throat knives'.
The term 'corvo' refers to the raven like hooked beak tip. It seems that there were brass circles on blades of older ones, the origin or possible meaning of the motif remains unknown.

These became popularly used in the grim 'War of the Pacific' (1879-1884) better known as the Saltpeter War for its casus belli being that and other resource exploitation and was fought between Chile, Peru and Bolivia.

I had not heard of the enlarged tang on the blade root indicating earlier versions. The indented choil at the blade root back, often regarded as a 'Spanish notch' has suggested earlier versions, and the stacked grip style has often suggested some of these being of Canary Islands source. Both the 'Meditteranean notch' and the stacked grips are affinities of the Canary Islands punale.
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Old 9th January 2021, 08:14 PM   #7
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Hi Detlef,
A good find and a great collection of old Corvos. I know the history, but not much about the knives themselves. The handle construction and design are Spanish influence, of course, and you see it in many different Spanish (ex) colonial knives like Brazilian faca de ponta and Canary islands knives, but I don't know much else.
Why do you think it is an older one? How did these knives develop? Could you say something about this?
Greetings, Eytan
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Old 9th January 2021, 08:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motan
Hi Detlef,
A good find and a great collection of old Corvos. I know the history, but not much about the knives themselves. The handle construction and design are Spanish influence, of course, and you see it in many different Spanish (ex) colonial knives like Brazilian faca de ponta and Canary islands knives, but I don't know much else.
Why do you think it is an older one? How did these knives develop? Could you say something about this?
Greetings, Eytan



I agree, while the information I just posted (#6) is terribly inadequate, I'm not sure how much else there is. I'm glad you noticed the Spanish influence. How did the knives develop ? Maybe from a tool like a grape knife? How do we tell the old ones? good question as I dont think they are usually dated.
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Old 9th January 2021, 11:27 PM   #9
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Thanks to all for the interest. All that I personally know about the history of corvos Jim has summarized already.
I have attached a picture of some old/antique so called "Hippen", German pruning knives. Vintner knives from Germany and France have a very similar style. So the development is better visible.

Why do I think that my new one is an old/early one? First, look to the used handle material by this one and the ones posted in #4, it's always brass and/or copper between horn and/or bone, in one case it's leather (the one with black handle and ruler), by the ones I've posted in #5 you see by the stacked handles always stained disks.
Second, look at the bolster area, by the ones posted in #4 they nearly always worked very rusticly, they developed to the typical fat point seen by nearly all examples in #5.
This is what I have noticed and let me think that the ones with tang in up could be earlier, like said, a theory.
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Old 10th January 2021, 09:49 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
... The term 'corvo' refers to the raven like hooked beak tip...

A little note, if i may, Jim.
Spanish "Corvo" translates to "curve", here referring to the curved shape of the blade.
"Raven" would translate to "Cuervo" .
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Old 10th January 2021, 09:56 AM   #11
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Default What you can read about Chilean corvos ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
... How did the knives develop ? Maybe from a tool like a grape knife? ...

"The exact origin of the Chilean Corvo cannot yet be clarified. Some authors speculate that it could be related to a white weapon brought by the first Spanish conquerors, the Janyar, a curved short sword of Arab origin that had entered the Iberian Peninsula after the invasion of the Moors. Be that as it may, the Corvo would be a widely used instrument in our country in colonial times, especially by the so-called "Chilean Roto" (the gañán, huaso, miner or cattle worker) for their work tasks and also as a defense weapo. Carlos López Urrutia, in his book “The Pacific War: 1879-1884 ″, explains that, "the famous Chilean Corvo was not a military weapon, but was usually used by agricultural workers and miners, as it was a very useful tool for the performance of their work ”.
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Old 10th January 2021, 01:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
"The exact origin of the Chilean Corvo cannot yet be clarified. Some authors speculate that it could be related to a white weapon brought by the first Spanish conquerors, the Janyar, a curved short sword of Arab origin that had entered the Iberian Peninsula after the invasion of the Moors. Be that as it may, the Corvo would be a widely used instrument in our country in colonial times, especially by the so-called "Chilean Roto" (the gañán, huaso, miner or cattle worker) for their work tasks and also as a defense weapo. Carlos López Urrutia, in his book “The Pacific War: 1879-1884 ″, explains that, "the famous Chilean Corvo was not a military weapon, but was usually used by agricultural workers and miners, as it was a very useful tool for the performance of their work ”.


Thank you so much Fernando! Those are outstanding and most helpful insights that really present a much more detailed look at the likely evolution of these unusual knives. It is interesting how many edged weapons evoolved out of agricultural tools and implements. I really appreciate the references you always cite as well, as your specialized access to these which are not typically found in the Engljsh language sphere is so very helpful.

Well noted on the raven term also, I had not realized corvo meant curved but was thinking of the corvus term, which apparently refers to the Raven's hooked beak.

This is the kind of information I had been looking for to add to and correct my notes .
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Old 10th January 2021, 01:47 PM   #13
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The notes on the Corvo courtesy:

https://www.guioteca.com/mitos-y-en...rcito-de-chile/

And by the way, raven in Portuguese translates to "Corvo" ... but that is a different deal .
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Old 10th January 2021, 03:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando


Thank you for the link Fernando, I've noticed it some time ago but forget about it.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 10th January 2021, 04:04 PM   #15
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You're welcome Detlef .

.
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Old 10th January 2021, 04:08 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
You're welcome Detlef .

.



I like this picture more.

Quotation from the above given link: "...not to mention, in rural areas, it's one of the most popular weapons of bandits, rustlers, and broken ones in general." They speak from the early 1800s.
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Old 10th January 2021, 04:25 PM   #17
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Another interesting quotation from the given link:
"The website Famae.cl reports in their article "El Corvo Chile" that "it was worn by its users at the waist, on the left side and with the edge down; some people used it with a cover and others did not. The Production was a completely handmade process, the forging was carried out by a master farrier or by one's own user. The blade was intrusive and no thicker than 5 mm (the main edge is the inner edge), the curve of which ends in a point. The continuation of this blade a point that eventually forms the handle. The final finish of the handle can be polygonal contours made up of several rings arranged in sequence with materials that depend on the purchasing power of each person. That is why these knives come in different designs and shapes , there is no uniform design,.."
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Old 10th January 2021, 06:35 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
I like this picture more.

Quotation from the above given link: "...not to mention, in rural areas, it's one of the most popular weapons of bandits, rustlers, and broken ones in general." They speak from the early 1800s.



I REALLY like this picture a lot!!!
If I may, this is what came to mind, my favorite 'spaghetti' western, and my interpretation
Indeed these scary looking knives were very much 'cut throat' knives as the colloquial term went.
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Old 11th January 2021, 06:01 AM   #19
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An extensive webpage on the 'crow' translated to English from the original Spanish.

Urbatorium

Personally, I prefer the less steeply angled 'Puma Claw' versions which retain some thrusting ability as well as hooking and slicing. Jim's pic above for example...
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Old 11th January 2021, 01:04 PM   #20
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You guys are amazing .
I cherish you with a picture of the real thing and you show up saying that you prefer the Antonio Banderas parfum advert version .
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Old 11th January 2021, 01:34 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
...An extensive webpage on the 'crow' translated to English from the original Spanish...

I see no mention of crows in the article, Wayne; only curved (or crooked) knives .
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Old 11th January 2021, 01:36 PM   #22
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Default And by the way ...

Famous Chilean historian Don Benjamin Vicuña Mackena affirms in "" El Libro de la Plata "(1882) that the corvo is actually Peruvian and that it was adopted by the Chilean workers who worked in Tarapacá.
Go figure !
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Old 11th January 2021, 03:14 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
I see no mention of crows in the article, Wayne; only curved (or crooked) knives .


Excerpt from well down the Spanish website, in English: ( )
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Old 11th January 2021, 04:33 PM   #24
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Talking Pulling my leg

Wayne, you are unique. You now perfectly that it is the translation engine that decided on such flaw.
The Spanish version:
Como prueba de su predilección por el cuchillo como arma de lucha, se cuenta que en muchos casos, durante la guerra entre Perú y Chile, en el momento de la batalla, los soldados chilenos tiraron sus armas y se lanzaron sobre el enemigo con corvos, luchando en el combate mano a mano".

I would also suggest that there are no crows or ravens in that hemisphere.
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Old 11th January 2021, 05:19 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Wayne, you are unique. You now perfectly that it is the translation engine that decided on such flaw.
The Spanish version:
Como prueba de su predilección por el cuchillo como arma de lucha, se cuenta que en muchos casos, durante la guerra entre Perú y Chile, en el momento de la batalla, los soldados chilenos tiraron sus armas y se lanzaron sobre el enemigo con corvos, luchando en el combate mano a mano".

I would also suggest that there are no crows or ravens in that hemisphere.


I acknowledge the avian 'crow' ref. is incorrect. (unless you are Portuguese -which you are), Is the Spanish plural for a Corvo Knife 'Corvos'?

I suspect from the racist reference to razors just before, it was translated into Spanish from some 19c English (possibly American) historian's mistaken crow reference. In the translated context 'corvos should not have been translated as if it were in Portugese.

(I was taking a rare opportunity to 'pull your leg' a bit too.)

I blame your Spanish neighbours for not speaking properly, like the Portuguese do. (The western part of the Iberian Peninsula has always been more independent and resistant to conquest and change than the peoples east of you.

The rest of the web page was interesting tho. I will have to keep my eyes open for one of the older less plastic modern 'tactical' ones like the one your soldier has in his belt. With luck, I'll get one with a blue grip.

p.s. look up "(Cyanocorax caeruleus) (Brazilian Portuguese: Gralha-azul, meaning blue jackdaw) is a passeriform bird of the crow family, Corvidae.
...". Scientists have decided it's NOT a jackdaw, but a proper corvid, er Corvus/corvo

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Old 11th January 2021, 06:21 PM   #26
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For plural we always use the S.

Castillian (so called Spanish):

Un (cuchillo) Corvo, dos Corvos.
Un (pajaro) Cuervo, dos Cuervos.

Portuguese:

Um (passaro) Corvo, dois Corvos.

Spanish Galician:(*)

Un (paxaro) corvo, dous corvos.

(*)
Galician (Galego) is often similar or equal to Portuguese.
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Old 11th January 2021, 06:29 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
... I will have to keep my eyes open for one of the older less plastic modern 'tactical' ones like the one your soldier has in his belt...

Good choice; "no replicas" is my middle name. You might as well strengthen your search and acquire one as used by this Inca General of Division .


.
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Old 11th January 2021, 09:02 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
A theory concerning the age of the different corvos.

I've searched through old threads here and have seen that the ones which look fairly old and rustic worked has the tang in up, speak near the spine of the blade, see the attached pictures, all taken from old threads and two own examples.
Hi Detlef:

You might be interested in the link posted some time back by Carlos, entitled: "EL CORVO CHILENO: HERRAMIENTA, ARMA Y SÍMBOLO HISTÓRICO" on the blog site URBATORIUM

Written in Spanish, it traces the history of the corvo and its relationship to agricultural tools and weapons of the past. My Spanish is rudimentary only so I won't attempt any translation. However, it would be helpful if someone here might translate it into English for us. I have attached a museum picture from that site that shows corvos from the War of the Pacific (dated 1880), including several general purpose examples. The pictures show that the dorsal- and central-oriented tangs, and the two types of bolsters you describe, were coexistent at the time of the War of the Pacific. It's possible that central tangs are more common today but they don't seem to have originated more recently than the dorsal tangs.

With regard to the origin of the word "corvo" for this knife, it has been well established in several posts here that it derives from the Spanish word for "curve," and has nothing to do with a crow (Corvid) which happens to share a common etymological root from Latin. Fernando has pointed this out several times, but the "crow theory" keeps coming back.

Corvos de la Guerra Del Pacifico (Collecion de Marcello Vilalba Solanas)
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Last edited by Ian : 11th January 2021 at 09:21 PM.
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Old 11th January 2021, 11:43 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
...

You might be interested in the link posted some time back by Carlos, entitled: "EL CORVO CHILENO: HERRAMIENTA, ARMA Y SÍMBOLO HISTÓRICO" on the blog site URBATORIUM
......

The link I just posted above in post no. 19 is to an english translation of this website.

The one you posted on the left is one I'd like.
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Old 12th January 2021, 11:54 AM   #30
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Hi Wayne,

I did not notice the entry you made about the same site. I think the online translation is an automated one based on software, with the usual obvious errors and clumsy wording that accompanies this method. I know enough Spanish to understand that there are significant mistranslations into English. The original Spanish version is a scholarly and sophisticated article that deserves translation by a bilingual person IMHO, in order to capture the full context and meaning of the article.
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