Chust is a city in eastern Uzbekistan, in Namangan region. Chust is one of the most ancient centres of civilization and culture in Central Asia. Therefore, since ancient times, together with farming and trade, people here engaged in pottery, weaving, metal-working and jewellery-making.
Chust knives have always had a great popularity not only in Central Asia but beyond. Researchers confirm today that world-famous Damascus steel knives were produced in Chust, in the territory of Davang state as there was no steel manufacturing in Damascus of that time. Knives were named as Damascus knives just because they were sold in Damascus Bazaars.
Today, in the center of Chust, there is a commercial quarter of craftsmen who manufacture knifes in their little smithies. It is worth visiting such a workshop, where you can see an ancient forge with bellows, an anvil and a set of hammers – from a sledge-hammer for flattening red-hot steel bars to hammers for shaping pichok blades, tongs, files and many other smith’s tools.
Before becoming a knife blade, a piece of metal will go through dozens of operations. In an almost ready but not yet completely chilled blade, the master hammers his brass trademark inlay. By such inlaid trademark one can tell the suzangar of a knife and the place where the knife was manufactured. A good blade of a pichok knife should be light gray; the handle should be proportionate to the blade and fit the palm comfortably. A well-forged knife easily cuts a flying hair; its blade will serve for years from to time undergoing whetting on the bottom of a china tea-bowl.
Mamajon Usta (Master) Sobirjonov belongs to the dynasty of well-known knifemakers. Together with his sons he makes probably the best hand-made knives in Central Asia distinguished by their lightness and elegance. In his smithy one will always be offered a large selection of knives: with threaded, patterns, with bone or wooden handle, and also with a handle made of horn.
The knives of Mamajon Usta with an inscription on the blade of the knife “Chust” are in big demand in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Tourists from Europe and US that visit his shop in Chust, always happy of their shopping, because they start to believe that Chust knives have the power of amulets protecting their owners against misfortunes. Carrying a knife has been a time-honored tradition for men throughout history. If so, carry not a simple knive, but a “Made in Chust” hand-made piece with a handle made of horn of gazelle…