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Messer aus der Toskana
Messer aus der Toskana
Dott. Stefano Patara

COLLECTION CATALOGUE

   HISTORY OF THE ITALIAN KNIFE

       I Coltelli dell'Amore - Storia e Curiositŗ

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THE LOVERíS KNIFE The loverís knife take easily a token value linked to the social and cultural enviroment where it is made and used It was present in in the past century in different southern and central italian regions. They were a gift which lovers made each other. This knife established a liaison between the two lovers. We can find proof of this also in the popular litterature, many stanzas confirm that the lover always brought with him the knife given by its lover since it represented the loved woman. It wasnít considered just a gift, Its fuction had a minor importance while we can realise its token value thanks to the decorative elements engraved on the knife (chained hearts, doves, branches of flowers, the initial of the names of the two lovers, the two lovers holding hands) sometimes we can find also phrases engraved on the knife ďnon ti fidar di me se il cuor ti manca, lo mio amore l'ha nome battista me lo ripiego e me lo metto in tasca pe facci l'amor e un esse vistaď (do not trust me if your lover is missing, my loverís name is battista, I close it and put on my pocket to make love with him without being seen).. In certain cases the knife protected the woman against other women jalousy which was kept away by the ivory insert put on the knife handle. The insert represented the lover eye keeping watch loved woman. It existed different kind of knife, it depended if it was given to Women or to men. In case it was a gift for the women the knife was full of decoration and token and were without block of blade. If it was a gift made by the woman to the man not only it had a viril and love token engraved on its blade but it was also an instrument of defenece in case the lover would have found in danger of life. The loverís knife for men were basically longer till to cm.40 and had a blade block. Ancient loverís knife are kept on public collections They are full decorated with ivory silver and brass enlay, their handles are made of the full part of buffalo and ox horn Nowadays we can find around fifty ancient loverís knifes. Seven of them are preserved in the museum of Antropologia Criminale in Turin, one is situated the national museum of Arti e Tradizioni Popolari in Rome, other 7 loverís knifes are kept in the museum of Ferri Taglienti in Scarperia.