Sami / Saami Lapland carved reindeer antler knife.
A lovely antique Sami / Saami carved reindeer antler. This type of item is a real rarity and very seldom available for sale so it is a lovely thing to have in a collection.
The Sami people are indigenous to the Arctic areas of Norway, Sweden , Finland and Russia. Historically, the Sami and the reindeer were interlocked in survival, both depending on one another for life in an unforgiving landscape. The Sami treated their reindeer as revered gifts from the Earth, using all parts of the reindeer in an ecologically friendly and spiritual manner. Reindeer were used as draught animals, as a food source, hides were used for clothing, bones for tools and female reindeer were milked to provide sustenance. The reindeer truly provided the means for existence.
The antlers of the reindeer were used not just for making household implements such as eating utensils, but also were carved and decorated and used as knife sheaths. The antler itself has a lovely patina built up over many decades of handling. The handle is chip or drill carved whilst a traditional reindeer head has been inked onto the blade. I think that this item is early to mid 20th Century and probably made as a bone knife or letter opener to be sold to tourists.
A really lovely and rare item. The antler is 26cm in length and 11.5cm wide.