Kids Corner


The Khanda …
On The Point Of A Needle





Birmingham artist, Graham Short, aged 68, has worked as a hand-engraver for 53 years and found fame by carving the Christian 'Lord's Prayer' on the head of a pin.

His best known piece, a razor blade with 'Nothing is Impossible' -- a slogan made famous recently by the centenarian Sikh-Briton marathoner Fauja Singh -- engraved along the sharp edge, recently sold for £50,000.

The latest project is mind-blowingly impressive. It took him four months to engrave the Sikh symbol, The Khanda, on the actual point of a needle.

He says, "I wanted to produce a religious piece which would be the smallest piece of art the world has ever seen. The Khanda is the symbol of the Sikhs, as the Cross is to Christians or the Star of David is to the Jews."

The engraving on the point of the needle is invisible to the naked eye and can only be viewed through a powerful microscope. It is smaller than a red huma blood cell.

The Birmingham artist works at night to avoid vibration from any passing traffic.

"If a lorry passes 200 yards away I can feel it through the microscope."

Taking Potassium, Magnesium and Beta-blockers to lower his heart rate, he wears a stethoscope to monitor his heart, then engraves between heart beats.

"I can get my heart rate down to about 25 beats a minute. Swimming helps a lot. I swim 10,000 metres a day. The fitter I am, the lower my resting heart rate."

Every few months he undertakes a course of Botox around his eyes.

"This keeps my muscles and nerves surrounding my eyes from being a distraction while I'm working, but it wears off after a couple of months or so," he says.

June 3, 2015

Conversation about this article

1: Graham Short (Birmingham, England), June 03, 2015, 2:54 PM.

Firstly, thank you to for showing my work. I wanted to produce the smallest religious symbol in the world. I chose The Khanda because it reflects the fundamental concepts of Sikhism, which should apply to us all. The double edge sword in the centre represents divine knowledge, with its sharp edges carving Truth from Falsehood. And of course, The Chakkar (the circle in the middle), without a beginning or end, symbolizing the perfection of God who is eternal. The two curved swords symbolize the equal emphasis that a Sikh must place on spiritual aspirations as well as obligations to society. I can't think of a religious symbol that comes anywhere near The Khanda in terms of giving us something to aspire to. It is an honour and a privilege for me to have worked on this piece. Thank you.

2: Harman Singh (California, USA), June 03, 2015, 8:31 PM.

Wow. Incredible! Both the Khanda and its maker.

3: Baldev Singh (Bradford, United Kingdom), June 03, 2015, 9:05 PM.

The Sikh insignia of the Khanda, or double edged sword, placed in the middle of two crossed swords and sometimes adorned with the added quoit, is a practical and powerful symbol of faith. Thank you for giving it a universal introduction, Graham, through your extraordinary skills.

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On The Point Of A Needle"

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