These knives, called ani ani in Indonesian, are one of the world s most primitive agricultural tools and similar objects are found in South America and the Philippines. The knife, a slender body into which a sharp strip of metal is fitted as a blade, has a tapering stick or bamboo segment hand grip across the top. It is held in the palm of the hand between the second and third fingers. with the blade pointing outwards and two fingers curled around each end of the stick. The harvester gathers one or more heads of rice in the free hand and then saws the rice heads off the stalk with the blade and drops the seeds into a bag or basket.
These two examples are form different parts of Indonesia. The knife with the long handle is a finely carved bird with its tail on one side and its head on the other, probably a peacock, length 15 cm / 6 inches). The other, length 16 cm/ 6 1/4 inches, is more abstract, possibly also a bird with a head on either side. but it is so worn from constant handling that only the pleasingly symmetrical form survives.
These little knives, with their blades made from scrap such as metal cans and crate strapping, were treasured possessions, carved for the had of the individual who used them used them and used for a lifetime of work in the rice paddies.