Most readers have heard about or seen the legendary Persian Damascus (crucible steel) blades. These are blades made of legendary crucible steel that are not only pleasing to the eye, but are highly efficient blades in terms of cutting performance and edge retention. One of the characteristic weapons made with this type of steel was the Persian kārd or Persian knife. The majority of Persian kārds have a very high-quality Damascus blade. The pattern of crucible steel or Damascus steel ranges from network damask, ladder pattern to the rose pattern. In rare instances Persian kārds have stripy damask patterns. In the following, I will describe the kārd more in detail.
The kārd is the one-edged short weapon or knife among Persian weapons. Today, the word kārd is still used to refer to a kitchen knife, which is called kārd-ē ashpazkhānē. Miniatures from the Safavid period (1502-1722) show men carrying kārds on the left side. Mostly, they carried two kārds during times of war and peace, and no one left home without these weapons. Persian manuscripts report that kārds served different purposes—they were recognized as a symbol of rank and status (especially the more elaborate ones), and they were also used to settle differences in fights. At times kārds were also carried on the battlefield as close-combat weapons. With the long tradition of Persians in wrestling, the Persian manuscripts report that wrestling fights on the battlefield were usually ended with the use of a kārd. Persian miniatures from different periods show men carrying kārds on different occasions from celebration events and hunting to the battle scenes. The suspension system included hanging the kārd from the girdle or the belt via a strap on the left side.
Most readers have heard about or seen the legendary Persian Damascus (crucible steel) blades. These…
by Kevin Davis / May 1, 2008