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Tumi, the ceremonial knife

Tumi, the ceremonial knife

Peru Tumi

The Tumi is a ceremonial knife made of bronze, gold, silver or copper and usually made of one piece. Its handle has a rectangular or trapezoidal shape, its length varies but it always exceeded the width of a hand. At the bottom there is a sharp semicircular blade. Tumis were used during ceremonies to sacrifice an animal to honor the God Inti. In the Inca period during the Inti Raymi celebrations they used a Tumi to sacrifice a black llama, their internal organs would be observed to foretell the future and later they were incinerated. Pre-Columbian cultures such as the Paracas used the tumi to perform a cranial surgery called cranial trepanation. This surgery was done to treat psychological disorders, headaches or a cranial fracture. The doctor cut the cranium with the tumi, let it bleed to relieve the disturbance and covered it with a gold plate.

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