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Chust Knives Manufacturing Workshop

Ferghana Valley

Chust Knives Manufacturing Workshop. Ferghana Valley

Since ancient times the Uzbeks have believed that sharp objects have the power of amulets protecting their owners against misfortunes. Such a quality, according to a popular Uzbek belief, is definitely inherent to traditional knife pichok, which is the trapping of many folk rituals. Many a legend has been made up about pichok knife. One of the oldest Uzbek metal processing centers is located in the Ferghana Valley.

In the center of the ancient town of Chust, Namangan Province, there is a commercial quarter of suzangars – craftsmen who manufacture knifes in their little smithies. It is worth visiting such a workshop, where you can see an ancient forge with bellows, an anvil and a set of hammers – from a sledge-hammer for flattening red-hot steel bars to hammers for shaping pichok blades,  tongs, files and many other smith’s tools. Before becoming a knife blade, a piece of metal will go through dozens of operations. In an almost ready but not yet completely chilled blade, the master hammers his brass trademark inlay. By such inlaid trademark one can tell the suzangar of a knife and the place where the knife was manufactured.  A good blade of a pichok knife should be light gray; the handle should be proportionate to the blade and fit the palm comfortably. A well-forged knife easily cuts a flying hair; its blade will serve for years from to time undergoing whetting on the bottom of a china tea-bowl.

Traditional Uzbek knives are of many kinds, each of them serving its own application purpose. Some of them work well on meat, some admirably fit for peeling and shredding carrots and onions for pilav. The elegant little ones are usually used for peeling fruit. There are even special gardener’s knives for pruning trees. Butchers use the knives with slightly curved blade points: they are convenient for cutting animal carcasses and fleshing hides.

Uzbek knives always come with cases or sheaths made of thick fabric or leather and decorated with embroidery or appliqué, or embossing. Quite often a leather sheath is decorated with small brass or copper plates, or with engraving. Rather common are wooden sheaths decorated with carving. Every sheath has a leather loop to let the owner fix it on his waist belt.

In Chust today there are still working the apprentices and followers of famous suzangar masters Ubaydulla Satarov and Miraziz Karabaev. One of them, the famous master Sobir Mamajonov, imparts the skills to his own apprentices.  Under his supervision they do not only learn to forge knives and swords but also to engrave on the traditional copper and brass lyagan dishes, to make women’s filigree bracelets and earrings with decorative grain.

A genuine Chust knife will last for a long time, always reminding its owner of the skillful hands of the Ferghana Valley craftsmen.

Sightseeing Places in Ferghana Valley

Kokand: Marghilan:
Khudayar-Khan Palace Chakar Mosque
Dakhma-i-shakhan Royal Cemetery Seieed Ahmad Hajji Madrassah
Jami Mosque 'Yodgorlik' Silk-weaving Mil
Narbuta-bey Madrassah Pir-Siddik Architectural Complex
Modari-khan Mausoleum  
Rishtan: Kuva:
Rishtan Ceramics Center Buddhist Complex of Kuba Site
Andijan: Chust:
Jami Madrassah Chust Knives Manufacturing Workshop
Jami Mosque Namangan:
Zakhiriddin Babur architectural Complex Ancient Settlement of Aksikent