A homage to the Unknown Craftsman:
let us bring Scarperia’s Scarpetta back to life. Together. “In Scarperia, production of knives with wooden handles never played a leading role, indeed there are no specific names for the various shapes, even though these can be quite different from each other”.
“The intrinsic simplicity of these knives and recurring absence of branding with the manufacturer’s name or the place of production, often make attribution to Scarperia of the samples one finds uncertain; some may instead come from less important places, or else be the product of craftsmanship which was less specialised and hence more widespread.”
“Features shared by all these knives are the lack of a spring and the presence of a metal - generally iron - band onto which the pivot of the blade is pushed back. There is no blocking device, and the opening movement ceases when a step formed by the spine side of the ricasso comes up against the edge of the band. The opening (like the closing) position is kept only by friction, so the blade has to force a little into the cut made in the wood.”
“When, through use, this friction disappeared or became insufficient, and the blade began to wobble, a few hammer blows on the pivot solved the problem. Blades are usually not very thick, so of course there are neither blade flats nor ricasso. The wood used for the handles was generally boxwood.
(from: Luciano Salvatici “Coltelli d’Italia”)
“The philosophical pillar of mingei is “the manufacturing art of common people.” Yanagi Sōetsu discovers beauty in ordinary and useful everyday items, created by anonymous and unknown craftsmen. According to Yanagi, items created by common people “go beyond beauty and ugliness.” Here are some characteristic features of mingei art and craftsmanship:
created by anonymous craftsmen
production in large quantities
used by the masses
useful for everyday life
representative of the region of production
Yanagi’s book "The Unknown Craftsman” gave rise to influential work ever since it first came out in English in 1972. The book examines the Japanese point of view and appreciation of art and beauty in everyday items, including ceramics, lacquer, fabrics and wooden objects.”
(from: Wikipedia “Mingei)
The Scarpetta is truly the Unknown Craftsman’s knife, produced without a real name, with great simplicity, for use by everybody, every day.
Like that of pebbles in the bed of a stream, its shape has been modelled one piece after another, year after year, by hundreds of nameless craftsmen.
We want it to come to life again and become part of Coltellerie Berti’s Collection of Regional Knives, joining the most complete Collection existing in Italy today, finally enjoying the place it is certainly entitled to.
Let us do it together.
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