Take a little vacation from the kitchen and get a look at what they used many moons ago and far, far away . . . from New York anyway.
These are a few favorite objects on display in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and they stretch your concept of what "blade" means. The first two are about a foot long and made of flint, from Mayan artisans working in the 6th-8th centuries in what is now Guatemala. The museum calls them Scepter/Profile Figures, and they combine ceremonial portraiture with a useful knife with several different kinds of edges, both straight and serrated. The portion that looks like a handle is sharpened but may have been wrapped with cloth or a leather lanyard when held.
The last photo is of one of my favorite works of all time, a Tlingit dagger from Alaska dated 1860 and made of bone, abalone shell and "iron." The detail is staggering, and the use of those avian heads in the handle gives new meaning to the phrase trout-and-bird knife. The double-edged blade shows some sophistication, and it wasn't polished up to the museum's credit. You can just feel how this baby was used. Inspiration? Tears over the lost art?