A typical knife from Pattada.
A typical knife from Arbus.
Sempre lughente parias de prata
segaias chei su pensamentu
ispilende sa pedde ind'unu 'entu
comente chi aeres giutu fogu in s'ata
Montanaru, Sa Leppa Pathadina

The resòlza, also known as resòrza, resòrja or arresòja, is the traditional Sardinian folding-blade fighting and utility knife. In Sardinia, this term is widely used to describe all foldable knives.

Like the straight razor, the resolza's blade folds into the handle when not in use. Sardinia has a long tradition of cutlery: however, even though the blade existed even in Nuragic times, since it has always served as a nearly indispensable tool in the agro-pastoral work, the word's origin dates from around the 17th century: the term in Sardinian language pays homage to the Latin rasoria, which stands for "razor used for shaving".

Back to those times, the resolza was used as a habitual item of personal wear, assisting the herdsmen with their daily activities, rather than for defensive purposes: in the 18th century, many travellers visiting the island reported that Sardinians (especially the society's most prominent members) generally carried either a dagger (daga) or a peculiar sabre on the belt (leppa de chintu) both to boost their social status and to dissuade others from any aggressive confrontation. Therefore, the 60 cm leppa sword is not to be confused with the resolza knife, even though the latter went eventually to replace the former by the 20th century, when the imposition of laws restricting the carrying of dangerous tools first entered into force: while the usage of the sword began to decline, the resolza grow so much in popularity among Sardinians of all classes and backgrounds, that the traditional knife is also improperly called leppa (just like the no longer in use sword).

An ancient Sardinian bronze statuette showing a village headman carrying a dagger.

There are three main traditional patterns of the knife, with the most crucial characteristic coming from the shape of the blade: the knife from Pattada (resolza pattadesa), considered the most famous Sardinian knife, has a long and narrow blade meant to reproduce a myrtle leaf (foza de murta), with the handle being made of muflon horn; the knife from Arbus (arresoja arburesa) has a more pot-bellied blade intending to resemble a laurel leaf (folla de lauru) instead, while having a monolithic handle. The most distinctive, by their typical blunt blade, are the knives from Guspini (arresoja guspinesa) and the Gallurese ones from the villages of Luras (resorza lurisìnca) and Tempio Pausania (lametta tempiesa): these were designed to cope with the Italian laws that outlawed pointed blades, but were also useful for mining jobs and removing the cork.

Nowadays, in spite of the several cheap imitations especially produced by mainland Italian industries, the local craftsmanship has reached a high artistic expression and the handmade Sardinian knife in all its varieties is well-known, sought and particularly appreciated by collectors for its resistance and aesthetic flavour.


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