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Thursday, July 25, 2024

“He wants you to straighten manzin, to grind steel…” (pics)

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We are retrieving today from the personal archive and republishing a 2014 interview with photographs, which took place in a cutlery shop at Hani τουbrahim in Paphos, before its renovation works for the cultural capital took place. We were at the end of the course of one of the generally accepted Cypriot knife makers of the last century and the beginning of the present, before he passed away exactly one year later. It was the Lapithiotis Christakis Charitou Zarapatakis, whose knives with the engraved seal “XX” on the back of the blade still retain their reputation. It was forged first in Lapithos and after the Turkish invasion of 1974 in Paphos.

The old cutlery shop at Hani tou Ibrahim in Paphos in 2014. The anvil, the vise, the hammers and the pile of goat horns can be seen. The half-extinguished photo of Lapithos on the wall was for Zarapatakis an “open door of escape” to his native land.

Our intention to republish the old interview existed from the beginning, when three Sundays ago we started to publish in the column the results of an original journalistic research on the Cypriot knife, and specifically on the dominant Lapithiotiko, recording its typology and as much as possible longer duration of its tradition, noting at the same time the minimal scientific study, promotion and promotion of it, with completely ignored by state and other principles of its historical and cultural value. However, this intention was strengthened when last week we suddenly met in a corner of the meeting room of the Municipality of Lapithos the pile with the tools of the then interviewee Christakis Zarapatakis. What was left of the knife maker was considered right by his children to be sent to the refugee town hall in Nicosia, the only – but at the same time so helpless in their great challenges from the state – manager of the heritage of the “pitsiaksides” of Lapithos, that in the future they will be used as museum exhibits.

What was left of the Paphos cutlery we met unexpectedly last week in a corner of the Lapithos refugee town hall in Nicosia.

It was as if the tools were asking for their owner's speech to be heard again, which on the one hand confirms information from previous reports in relation to the Lapithio knife-making school, of which the scythe is a part, and on the other shows a life attitude towards to the thought of death, which for the 89-year-old then stabber the answer is contempt and the incessant beating of the blade:

“I found myself on the road because he was my father and my grandfather. In Paphos I praised my father for his scythes! They put his name on it and they found him to buy scythes: May 5 in Timin, May 12 in Drousian, 18 in Elethkion, June 3 in Chadan – it was the last festival of the season to talk about scythes. “They smashed the cassia with the scythes in Chad!”

“What is the art of making a knife?”

“Now look,” he says, and heads to an old, out-of-order refrigerator he uses as a warehouse. He pulls out a plastic bag, which contains some black sleeves with black sleeves inside. One by one he hits the sleeves with force on the chair to throw the blade out of the tragic horn.

“Do you make different kinds of knives?”

“Yes. I make masteraka of htermatos, schoiromascheira jiai tsiakkia “.

“How long does it take you to make a chiakin?”

“It takes two or three hours. He wants you to straighten manzin, to grind the steel. He wants art, so to speak, in boiling – to boil it a lot. Yeah Al that sounds pretty crap to me, Looks like BT aint for me either. – its boil must fall. Ji 'I let his paint be arranged to erase it. In technical gums, in a knife that works first to do something “, says Christakis Zarapatakis, persistently hitting his head with the index finger of his hand.

“Do you know where I am?” He asks.

“Where are you from?”

“Where is Paradise, where is Lapithon!”, He says, pointing to the wall an old photo faded by the weather. To its left hang from an iron nailed to the wall the arias with which it pierces the sleeves.

“It's the Thiamiamine of the Mediterranean, because they had a river that they built, that the last house in the jeep, and they hung it all the way down for seven weeks. They had 15 flour mills. It was enough that the surrounding chorka ji 'grind. Tseikato, in the last flour mill, they had scales, they shared the river, they praised half on the right and the other on the left, they watered the people, they tore it up with time. There were twenty other fountains, running water, which no other place in Cyprus had like that, because it was the mountain above “.

Christakis Zarapatakis remembers and talks about Lapithos with emotion and nostalgia. That half-extinguished photo is an “open door of escape” to the homeland.

“But I recommend you go to Lapithon. Yes, go to Kefalovryson. Τζειπάνω τζει. The name of Kefalovrysos in the books is “Seven fountains”, because they introduced seven places, but the main source was outside. But we said, it has another 20 pipes with running water outside Kefalovrysso “.

The 89-year-old Christakis Zarapatakis was piercing the horn sleeve with the manual handle. The old knife makers until the end stubbornly refused to use tools of modern technology.

“What hours do you work here?”

“I arrive at eight in the morning, yes, I leave at one o'clock. I arrive again in the afternoon at two-thirty to four-five. I'm posing. “But why are you resigning?” They shout at me. I cry to them “should I resign now, at the age of 89?” What to do? This year I am getting mad. To go to the cafe to play ttavlin, to beat to death? Ώσπου πάμεν. Life is temporary “.

“And how many years have you been here?”

“It's been 40 years.”

“Didn't anyone come to tell you to find out?”

“Many people come, but they come and leave…”

Then the memories from his works reach Karpasia.

“I used to go to Rizokarpason, Gyalousa, I used to take scythes and they used to make yoman. But quarantine was my job. My scythes were cut like a xiourafin. So, when the cafe, Jiamai in Gyalousan, where I put the scythes, one of them shouts to me: 'Leave me scythes tomorrow and then go to the Holy Trinity, because you do a lot of work'. Επηα. I sold the scythes. They shout to me: '15 other people want sickles for the wheat '- we worked a lot with the wheat then – ji' I sent them 15 sickles by the bus that arrives in Nicosia. I wrote, I wrote, I sent them the message that I would spend that day to pay me, before I go to the Apostle Andrew. They were giants in the cafe, they were waiting for me, my lord! Another world is jealous. They said something to you, it was real “.

“Or I'm sorry for the place,” says Christakis Zarapatakis, looking at the photo again.

“Nobody lives forever”

“Or in '58 the British caught us, raised us on the bed, took us down to the neighborhood square. Jiamai had seven cafes, Jiamai in our neighborhood. The bus arrives in the morning. Our fountain was running. I pulled my head back to see, the English spear is thrown. 'I'll kill you', he cries. I answered him in English, I knew the correct phrase that I heard in a movie. 'Nobody lives forever!', His cry. They were left in the lurch, they lowered their weapons.

Christakis Zarapatakis narrates the specific scene and derives pleasure.

“Do you remember the best knife you made?”

He wonders with the question.

“But my mascara is good,” he says confidently. “You have to make him like you first to please the other.”

Source: politis.com.cy

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