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Old 14th February 2024, 04:20 AM   #1
Ian
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Default Please show your examples of ethnographic double knives

"Double" or "twin" knives (i.e., a pair of knives of about the same size in a single sheath or scabbard) are found fairly commonly in some cultures. Chinese and Chinese-influenced examples come to mind in particular. However, there are other cultures that occasionally produce twin knife constructions.

Recent discovery of a pair of rare Burmese twin knives prompted an examination of the archives here and other online sources to look for unusual twin knife examples from other cultures. I did not find many.

There are Chinese examples from the 19th and 20th C found easily here and on the web (huedidao, jian, etc.). We probably don't need to repeat those here. What I would like to see are examples from a range of cultures (modern and fantasy examples excluded).

To get things started, I'm posting pictures of two of mine (the Burmese pair, and a pair of old Tuareg knives), plus a pair of Batak knives that appeared recently in an online auction. There are a few more from the old Oriental Arms web site.

The question then arises—what were these paired knives used for?

Last edited by Ian; 14th February 2024 at 08:37 AM.
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Old 14th February 2024, 04:25 AM   #2
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Default Burmese double knives

These were posted recently here, and some discussion can be found in that thread. As far as rarity, there are fewer than 10 known examples of paired Burmese knives in a single sheath, and most are in prominent museums. The extant examples all seem to be 19th C ensembles.

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Old 14th February 2024, 04:33 AM   #3
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Default Double Tuareg knives

The only such pair of Tuareg knives that I have seen. Would be interested if anyone else has a similar example. This pair seems to have some age, perhaps late 19th C.

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Old 14th February 2024, 04:42 AM   #4
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Default Batak double knives

The only pair of these knives I have seen. Hard to assess age, but they do not appear to be very old.

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Old 14th February 2024, 04:55 AM   #5
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Default Items found on Oriental Arms site

OTTOMAN DOUBLE KNIVES

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OTTOMAN TRIPLE KNIVES

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INDO-PERSIAN DOUBLE KNIVES

These two knives are not a match and I suspect that the T-bladed one is a replacement for the original twin. The plain blade on the other knife is wootz.
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Last edited by Ian; 18th February 2024 at 01:44 PM.
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Old 14th February 2024, 04:58 AM   #6
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Default Another item found on Oriental Arms site

DOUBLE KHODMI KNIVES
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Old 15th February 2024, 04:09 PM   #7
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Default Kabyl double shaving knives

From quai branley site.
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Old 15th February 2024, 06:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
The only such pair of Tuareg knives that I have seen. Would be interested if anyone else has a similar example. This pair seems to have some age, perhaps late 19th C.

.
Ian, this style of work, which is often found on arm daggers that look similar in general shape and construction to your double daggers, is associated with the city of Bida in Nigeria. Tuareg inspired, but not Tuareg technically.
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Old 16th February 2024, 04:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Ian, this style of work, which is often found on arm daggers that look similar in general shape and construction to your double daggers, is associated with the city of Bida in Nigeria. Tuareg inspired, but not Tuareg technically.
Thank you TVV.
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Old 18th February 2024, 10:22 AM   #10
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Double pedang suduk from Java. Lacquered scabbard, silver fittings and pamor blade.
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Old 18th February 2024, 01:24 PM   #11
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Thanks JBG. Lovely examples.
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Old 18th February 2024, 02:59 PM   #12
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Caucasian dagger. Georgia. 19th century.
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Old 19th February 2024, 01:48 AM   #13
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Lovely example also TK!

Do the two hilts have a mechanism to lock them together, converting the twin daggers into a single dagger?
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Old 19th February 2024, 06:15 AM   #14
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Two examples from India
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Old 19th February 2024, 12:58 PM   #15
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And from Turkestan
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Old 20th February 2024, 06:26 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
Lovely example also TK!

Do the two hilts have a mechanism to lock them together, converting the twin daggers into a single dagger?
Yes. There is a mechanism that consists of pins and grooves.
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Old 20th February 2024, 09:01 AM   #17
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GePi,

The Indian blades look well crafted and show a similar locking device to the example of Turkoman.khan. The Turkestan pair are gorgeous knives and perfectly matched. Are any of these blades wootz? Any idea about what they were used for?

Ian

Last edited by Ian; 20th February 2024 at 09:13 AM.
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Old 21st February 2024, 10:16 AM   #18
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Quote:
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GePi,

The Indian blades look well crafted and show a similar locking device to the example of Turkoman.khan. The Turkestan pair are gorgeous knives and perfectly matched. Are any of these blades wootz? Any idea about what they were used for?

Ian
I only own the example with the accompanying whetstone, the blades are not wootz, they are homogenous spring steel, the spring tension locks the two halves together when joined.
The second Turkestan example is Gavin's and pattern welded I believe.

As for usage, I am not sure. It could just be a gimmick. I thought mine could be a razor because they are quite thin and very sharp, but the blades are purposefully slightly bending inwards.
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Old 29th March 2024, 01:11 PM   #19
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This little pair is new to the collection. Laotian betel knives? Not very old, mid. 20th century I guess but the fittings are from silver, bone handles.
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Old 7th April 2024, 01:12 PM   #20
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Hello Detlef,
I have the twin of your double knife.
Even the motifs match (three-headed elephant)
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Old 7th April 2024, 04:25 PM   #21
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Hi Detlef and Peter,

Nice little knives. As Detlef noted, Lao and likely mid-20th C.
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Old 7th April 2024, 05:37 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter B. View Post
Hello Detlef,
I have the twin of your double knife.
Even the motifs match (three-headed elephant)

Hello Peter,

Jep, an exact twin!

Regards,
Detlef
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