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Old 8th January 2021, 04:33 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, 07:40 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, 10:24 AM   #3
Sajen
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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, 02:04 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, 02:08 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, 04:54 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 11th January 2021, 08:02 PM   #7
Ian
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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 08:21 PM.
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Old 11th January 2021, 10:43 PM   #8
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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, 08:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
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.


Hi Ian,
I've hoped you join in! And yes, you show the counterevidence.

But I still think that the one inquestion is an early example, what you think?

Regards,
Detlef
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