Knife maker shop in the suq of Aswan, Egypt, March 21, 2009

Knife maker's shop along a backstreet in the suq of Aswan. Two aziyar (Arabic plural of zir, large pottery jar for water) at the entrance of the shop hold drinking water for the workers and customers.

Hamada Hadid uses a hammer and stump anvil (embedded in concrete).

Closeup of the stump anvil and hammer.

Met'tain Sabr uses a grinding wheel to sharpen a sakinah (Arabic, butcher knife) A pottery bowl and water dipper are situated behind the grinding wheel.

Met'tain uses two fingers to hold blade against the sharpening wheel.

Met'tain looks down the blade after sharpening

Hadji Sabr, father of the knifemakers in Aswan.

Hadji, Sabri.

Butchering knife. Blade measures 13.7 cm long, 3.7 cm wide and 2.5 mm thick. Tang measures 6.3 cm in length. Handle measures 12.9 cm long, 3.0 cm wide (where held), and 1.8 cm. thick. Weight 110.5 grams.

View of the top edge (non-cutting) of the knife and handle.

Specialized, short bladed knife with rounded tip used in butchering around and between bones. Blade measures 8.9 cm long, 4.1 cm wide, and 3.5 cm thick. Tang measures 6.4 cm in length. Handle measures 12.6 cm long, 2.9 cm wide (where held), and 1.8 cm thick. Weight = 126.0 grams.

View of the top (non-cutting edge) of the knife, tang, and slot in the wooden handle.

Mus (Arabic, a folding knife) with a blade measuring 11.7 cm long, 2.4 cm wide, and 1 cm. thick. Tang measures 1.1 cm in length. Handle measurese 13.1 cm long, 2.4 cm. wide and 1.7 cm. thick. Weight 48.6 grams.

Bottom view of the folding knife and the slot for the blade.

I negotiated for 4 minutes and paid $11 (US) = 275 Egyptian lire for all three knives after bargaining. There was no price difference for style of knife in our negotiation. Yes, a citizen of Aswan could probably have paid much less for the 3 knives.

Special thanks to Dr. John Shoup, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco for his advice on this webpage.

Created 9 April 2009