Tyrol knives

Knives of Trentino Alto Adige, Tyrol

Have you ever seen beautiful pictures of towering mountains with woods, green meadows, blue lakes, small villages with well maintained houses full of flowers? Well, Trentino Alto Adige is maybe the set of those pics! This region is in fact a real gem in the Alps, where people have succeeded in integrating human activities with a wonderful nature.

Tyrol knife

We are in the extreme Norh of Italy, at the borders with Austria, in  full Alpine area.

Trentino Alto Adige is the union of two Italian Tyrol disctricts: Italian speaking Tyrol, that is Trento province and German speaking South Tyrol that is Alto Adige (or Südtirol in German language).

Tyrol is a transnational region, a well defined cultural and traditional district once united and now split between Italy and Austria. So we can talk about “knives of Trentino Alto Adige” just to align with the criterion of describing the knives of individual Italian regions, but for the peculiaritis of this area it would be more correct to talk about Tyrolean knives.

Observing the traditional objects, you can immediately notice that, despite the hardness of mountain life, Tyrolean people have always been able to integrate functionality with a noticeable aesthetic sense and with deep references to archaic beliefs. So Tyrolean knives handles are often inlaid with typical patterns and on blades you can often find religious or symbolic engravings.

In the Tyrolean traditions there are fix blades as well as folding knives.  These lasts can be built using for the handle a single chamois horn, wood, or a metal-horn structure.

Tyrolean knife

The main features of Tyrol – Trentino Alto Adige knives

 – Religious or symbolic engravings on the blade both on fix blade and folding knives: Christian symbols, crosses, stars, moons, almost always in series of 9.

 – Handles inlaid with floreal patterns or mountain-related motifs. These inlays can be in brass, silver or engraved bone. The support for the inlays, in most cases, is dark horn.

 – Fix blade knives can be alone or in a set with a fork and a sharpening steel, contained in a single leather sheath. These sets are called in German language Fuhrmannsbesteck.

 – In pocket knives coming from rural areas the blade is often scimitar-shaped. This is an archaic feature common to many knives of the whole Alpine area. The handle of these knives are shaped in a sharp curve.

 – Pocket knives presumably coming from urban areas, can have a metal-horn composite handle.

Tyrol – Trentino Alto Adige knives – list of models

  • Drudenmesser
  • Fuhrmannsmesser – Fuhrmannsbesteck
  • Metal structure folding knife

Here you can find pictures of Tyrolean knives

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