Japan, during the Meiji era (1868-1912).
Can vary widely between 3.5-6 inches (95-160mm), although 5” (135mm) is most common.
Petty (from the French ‘Petit’), with its origins in western cookery, came to prominence in Japan at the end of the 19th century alongside the Gyuto and Bunka knives. The Petty is thin, light and agile, suited to intricate tasks like chopping herbs and vegetables, and slicing small cuts of meat. The narrow profile of the knife prevents your hand from wrapping around the handle in a ‘hammer’ grip while chopping, so the pinch grip is used for this shape of the knife. The upside is it works nicely for in-the-hand preparations where the shallow heel is easier to manoeuvre.
Petty knives vary widely in handle style, from traditional ‘Wa’ handles to the Western ‘Yo’ (or three-pin, full-tang) handle. Professional chefs tend to favour the western handle, where the notch at the back of the handle prevents slipping when hands are wet or oily.
Tips When Using the 'Petty'
Choose a length of knife that pairs well with a Gyuto, Chef’s Knife or Santoku, where the two knives can work in partnership with one another. The knife should suit chopping board and in-your-hands preparations, so pay close attention to the knife’s weight and shape; heavier knives feel more stable in the hand, whereas lighter knives place less strain on your wrist.
It is well suited to push and pull slicing, but can be used for chopping smaller ingredients like fine herbs and garnishes.
If you want to add a Petty to you knife collection you can see what we have available here - Petty Knives.
Background Art by Yayoi Kusama
Knife Designed by S. L. Dolman | Koi Knives, SA