Original Philippine - American War Captured Spanish Engraved Navaja Sevillana Folding Fighting Knife - Dated 1899

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. The navaja is a traditional Spanish folding-blade fighting and utility knife. One of the oldest folding knife patterns still in production, the first true navajas originated in the Andalusian region of southern Spain. In Spain, the term navaja is often used to generally describe all folding-blade knives.

The navaja was first adopted as a fighting knife by the peoples of Andalusia in southern Spain, including the Spanish gypsies of the day, the Gitanos. In this part of Spain, knife fighting was regularly taught as a skill, often passed down from father to son as a rite of passage to adulthood.

Although this knife is of Spanish origin, it was more than likely captured in the Philippines during the Philippine-American war. The style of fighting with the Navaja carried over into Spanish speaking countries such as Argentina, Puerto Rico and the Philippines as part of el legado andalusí (the Andalusian legacy, or tradition).

Used as a fighting knife, the navaja typically featured a blade length of 400 mm (15 inches) or longer, and knives with 300 mm (12-inch) to 500 mm (19-inch) blades were common. The large-bladed fighting navaja or santólio was eventually refined into a pattern named the navaja sevillana, after the region in which it saw much use. The navaja sevillana was a fighting knife characterized by a ratchet locking mechanism, a long and slender blade with a prominent clip, a needle-sharp point, and a finely honed, razor-sharp cutting edge. During the 18th and most of the 19th century, large navajas were traditionally worn pushed into a belt or sash, with the distinctively curved, fish-shaped handle left exposed to ease removal. An exception to the predominance of large-bladed sevillanas was the salvavirgo ("chastity knife"), a small knife carried by Andalusian women in a bodice or leg garter as a weapon of self-defense.

This example of the navaja sevillana is in lovely condition with the ratcheting mechanism still functional. The steel and brass constructed knife features lovely horn grip scales over what appears to be an inner wooden structure. The scales are somewhat loose due to expansion from probable water damage and the layers have come apart slightly. The etching on the brass adornments are still highly visible and are the typical lines and crosshatch patterns often found on this style of knife. The 10 ⅛” blade features the same type of designs with lovely Spanish lettering engraved in script on the right side. From what we could make out, the writing is as follows:

Soy Andalucía de
Sevilla ano 1899

Which translates to “I am Andalusia from Seville year 1899”. Seville is the capital and largest city of the Spanish autonomous community of Andalusia and the province of Seville. Among navaja aficionados, the barateros of Málaga and Seville were cited as the most skilled practitioners of fighting with the navaja!

This is truly an incredible knife from a city that produced some of the finest Navaja fighters in the world. This knife comes more than ready to be displayed!

Blade length: 10 1/8"
Overall length: 22 1/4”
Length Closed: 12 1/4"

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