This is a rare type of ancient copper surgical knife called a tanged TUMI from the ancient Pre-Columbian Indians of South America, most likely from the Moche Culture. The most commonly encountered examples are long, flat sheet metal types with a flat, half-moon end. Those types don't seem very functional whereas this specimen could clearly be used to cut bone and trepan a skull. Knives like these were used in ancient surgery such as skull trepanation where an opening was cut in the skull of a living person as a form of medical treatment. Tumi of this type were also used in ritual sacrifices. Many ancient human skulls have been noted in science from this region whereby surgical cuts were made with tumi knives and in many instances, the patient lived and the wound healed. It is unknown why such practices were performed.
This exceptional specimen is in superb preservation and is complete with full tang. These ancient surgical knives are unique to this region of the ancient world. The knife is in PERFECT CONDITION and shows a warm, copper patina. This genuine artifact is not only an exquisite example for any Pre-Columbian weapon or artifact collection but would also make a most memorable gift for any physician or someone in the medical field who appreciates ancient history.