VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Harvesting Knife
VWM3
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

Shifting cultivation is very important to the Thai people and therefore this knife is such an important tool in harvesting rice.

History of the Object
Mrs. Loc Thi Chinh’s husband made this rice knife in 1989. Its iron blade is used to cut rice and is hidden inside. He took the blade from the broken sickle and its body is made from wood. It also has a string to circle her wrist in case she drops it when tying the rice sheaves. Shifting cultivation is very important to the Thai. The annual harvest often begins in October (according to the lunar calendar) and the Black Thai use this tool to cut rice. She has been using it for nearly 20 years. She places her hand on the bamboo body and clasps her index and middle fingers on its body and in the middle of the knife when cutting. Two fingers hold the rice stem and pull the blade to cut the stalks. The distance between the rice plants varies because the Black Thai dig holes manually to plant the seeds. Therefore, she has to harvest it stem by stem or only three to four stems at once. As the rice fills her hand, she ties them in a bunch and put them into the basket to bring home.

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Type
Other 
Materials
Iron and wood 
Measurements
L. 14.6cm 
Creator name
Mrs. Lộc Thị Chinh  
Creator date
20th Century 
Where it was made
Thanh Hoa, Vietnam 
Geography
Vietnam 
Time period
AD 20th century ~ AD 20th century 
Creation date
1989 
Function
For harvesting rice  
Acquisition
 
Copyright
Vietnamese Women's Museum  
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Mrs. Lộc Thị Chinh  
Museum
Vietnamese Women's Museum 
Credit line
Vietnamese Women's Museum  

Other
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  • I-Lann372 weeks ago

    I have several favourites in your collection but i am particularly glad you included a paddy stalk cutting finger knife as a knife of this same/ very similar design is used in many parts of Southeast Asia. In Sabah where I'm from (North Borneo Malaysia) a small knife of very similar design to this is used to harvest paddy stalks. The knife is called a pais and is held in the palm and between the fingers. Padi stalks are then cut one at a time in respect to the paddy spirit but at a very fast rate. i think the shared traditions and spirituality surrounding paddy / rice cultivation and harvest throughout Southeast Asia is significant as a kind of shared knowledge.

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