Ulu Knife

The Alaska Ulu Knife

An ulu (English: "woman's knife") is an all-purpose knife, originating with the indigenous people of the Arctic region. Archaeologists estimate the earliest ulu knives date back to 2500 BCE and were utilized in applications as diverse as skinning and cleaning animals, cutting a child's hair, preparing food and, if necessary, trimming blocks of snow and ice used to build an igloo.

Traditionally used by Inuit, Yupik and Aleut women, these versatile cutting implements were created from flat, thin rocks or slate shaped for the cutting surface and walrus ivory, caribou antler, muskox horn, bone or wood (if available) fashioned to make a handle. A modern ulu is still often made with a caribou antler handle but the blade is usually made of steel.

The size of the ulu determined its use. For example, Kimaqtuut is a small, two-inch blade ulu used as part of a sewing kit to cut sinew or to cut out patterns from animal skins (seal, caribou). An ulu with a six-inch blade would be used for general purposes. Occasionally, an ulu can be found with blades as large as 12 inch. The unique design of the ulu centers the force over the middle of the blade and by employing a rocking motion; it is easy to use with one hand.

The ulu is still used traditionally, especially when the salmon are abundant in the summer. Not only natives, but also people around the world rely on the ulu for everyday cutting. Traditionally, the ulu would be passed down from generation to generation and believed that an ancestor's knowledge was contained within the ulu and thus would also be passed on.
Source: Wikipedia

Arctic Spirit Gallery features handcrafted, one-of-a-kind, pieces by Leroy Barlip III, an Athabascan Alaska Native born in Glenallen and raised in the village of Gulkana, Alaska. His Athabascan mother passed along an appreciation for Native art and cultural traditions. Each one of Leroy’s handcrafted ulu combine art and craftsmanship for a beautiful, useful tool. The cutting edge is made from fine steel with Alaska moose antler or a scrimshawed Alaska caribou antler handle. Each ulu comes with a moose antler or wood stand.



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Ulu Knife used by the Eskimo for years for all purposes