Abstract: In the article L. Arkhangelskiy reconstructs and describes the manufacturing technique of the so called “paren’ knives” – the knives which were forged in the village of Paren’ on the north of Penjinskiy district of the Kamchatka Region (Kamchatka Krai). The village seems to have sprung up in the 18th century and got its name from the river Paren’ which banks it was situated on. Now the village is almost extinct.
The knives which were manufactured by the koryaks from Paren’ used to be very common in the whole north-west of the Russian state. The local reindeer breeders, hunters and fishermen appreciated these knives higher than any other because of their form fitting perfectly the local necessities and conditions and their generally very good quality – they were sharp and in most cases serviceable. Eleven teams working in Paren’ in the thirties of the 20th century produced thousands of knives per year. In the late soviet period the plan was increased. Today the technology is lost. The blades were forged of metal having lain in salt water for a long time and well corroded. The handles and scabbards were made of wood. The handle was specially assembled so to guarantee its perfect fit and firm fixing. The author thoroughly collected and analyzed the accessible information on the manufacture of the knives and carefully describes the technological process starting with iron choosing and up to blade forging. L. Arkhangelskiy bases his explanations on the block of illustrations and the book by K.Baurman “Life among the Paren’ blacksmiths”. Having analyzed all the information the author verifies three legends which describe the “paren’ knives” manufacturing of needles, corroded iron (the metal from the crashed ships) and pipes. He comes to the conclusion that the knives were most probably manufactured of the rough forge of corroded iron. Along with the technology reconstruction the author classifies the discussed knives into three categories: the largest examples used for baldric fixation had the blade length of more than 30 cm and spine thickness of about 7-8 mm, the knives for the belt were smaller and their blade length varied from 15 to 18 cm and spine thickness from 4,5 to 5 mm, and the last, additional, variant of the 7-10 cm blade length. L. Arkhangelskiy also marks the usage of two knives altogether being put in sometimes double scabbard. To sum up: the article is a unique cross-disciplinary investigation in the field of the weapon studying.
Keywords: the “paren’ knives”, Penjinskiy district of the Kamchatka Region, forged, handles, scabbards, corroded iron, legends.