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Missouri River trade axe with red handle / Unknown

Essay/Description

Tomahawk -- Iron metal blade with a “bleeding heart” (redbud) cut-out design; The wooden handle is wrapped in red cloth with fringes at the end of the handle. This form is often referred to as the Missouri War Hatchet.

The iron/steel axe (tomahawk) rapidly replaced stone axes and became one of the most popular trade goods made available to Native Americans by European traders. Tomahawks quickly became the weapon of choice, especially during the 16th and 17th centuries. By about 1700, specialized forms with spikes or pipes appeared.

The triangular and axe-like design of the tomahawk was likely introduced by French traders in the early 1700s and was first called the Missouri war hatchet or axe. As well as the popular triangular design, two other forms were used. The spontoon tomahawk resembled the fleur-de-lis and, therefore, was known as the French type. It was also considered old-fashioned because it resembled weapons used in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. The other fo

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Title(s): 
Missouri River trade axe with red handle
Creator(s): 
Unknown
Culture: 
Native American; Osage (artist and user)
Date: 
late 19th century
Period: 
Historic
Place: 
United States of America
Materials/Techniques: 
wood, metal, stroud cloth
Classification: 
Object Type: 
Accession No: 
84.1120
Department: 
Not On View

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