Sgian Dubh (Scotland)


EU12 Sgian Dubh

Code: EU12

Skean-dhu or sgian-dhu or (from the Gaelic) sgian-dubb.

Once used for the everyday work needs of the Scotsman, the Sgian Dubh (pronounced “skee(a)n doo”, or “skien”) is now a ceremonial dagger worn as part of the modern Scottish Highland dress along with the kilt.  It is worn tucked into the hose with only the pommel visible.  Wearing at the top of kilt hose probably developed from when a Scotsman was taking the hospitality of another, he would take it from its "Hidden Place" and put it where all could see, showing he had no concealed weapons or intentions. The sgian dubh was very often concealed under a man's armpit.

While there are many styles for Sgian-Dhu's the best known is the Simple Black Knife. The name means “black dagger”, which may refer to the color of the pommel or the history of keeping this knife “secreted” in the kilt garments (typically under the arm or in the upper sleeve.) The literal translation is "Black Knife", however the original meaning was probably "Hidden Knife", as this was the knife a Scotsman would hide about his person. It is related to the dirk and like the dirk, was by the 1800’s worn full-time in the stocking top. At the time and to this day, this is the polite way to reveal a concealed weapon upon entering a Scot’s home. 

The unsharpend blade on this knife is about 11 inches long a decorated with an etched foliage and thistle motif. The hilt is carved wood with nickel silver tacks.  This knife is a decorative item, neither old nor intended for actual use. Perhaps one day I will find a marvelous sgian dubh to add to my collection!

The Sgian Dubh

Wikipedia - Sgian Dubh