A kukri, which is also know as a khukuri, in an inward curve blade knife resembling a machete knife, and it comes from the nation of Nepal. It can be used as a weapon and as a tool and are often found in countries that are neighbors to Nepal. Under normal situations, the knife is a utility blade used by the people of Nepal for everyday chores, and farming, however the knife is cherished by the soldiers of the Nepalese Army. The famed Gurkha of the British army re so famous for their kukri blades, that many people call the knife a Gurkha Knife. The knife is also quite popular as an ornament of status, and is seen at public events as well as being seen at Nepalese weddings.
The kukri blade became popular in the west as a result of conflicts erupting between the British East India Company, and the Kingdom of the Gurkha. This fighting resulted in the Gurkha War which went on viciously from 1814 to 1816.
The troops of the Gurkha are all given two khukuri knives. One for ceremonial duties, and one to be used during exercises. The kukri is usually purposed for the chores of chopping. Shapes can be quite variant and the sizes of kukri can be very different as well. A kukri that has been deigned for common purposes is usually in the range of 40 to 45 centimeters long, and has a weight between one and two pounds. To be any larger, would take away the practical advantages as a weapon or a tool.
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Small kukri also suffer a loss of usefulness, but are quite portable. The blades of the kukri normally have a notch near by the base of the knife blade. There appears to be both ceremonial as well as practical purposes in mind when notching the blade in such a way. The notch of the blade can be uses to draw sap from a tree, or animal blood from a kill.
It has also been suggested that the notch reminds the soldiers to never kill a cow. The cow is worshiped by the religious hindus, and the notch is somewhat shaped like the milk giving anatomy of a cow, hence the constant reminder of reverence to the animal.
Kukri handles are made of a variety of materials. Buffalo horns, ivory, metals, hard woods, and so on. The common handle comes with a butt that is flared, and as such allows the user to do a better job of drawing cuts and doing heavy chopping. The plates of the butt are normally steel or brass and can be used as an emergency hammer. I suggest a book about the Gurkha of Nepal. they are quite a legend, and a very interesting topic to read up on.