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Tomahawk or hatchet with iron metal blade and buffalo hide wrapped around the wood shaft / Native American; Plains

Essay/Description

Iron metal blade; wooden handle wrapped with hide (buffalo?). The hide is attached with brass tacks. A leather loop at the butt end of the handle is decorated with red horsehair.

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 form had a flared blade, which was a popu

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Title(s): 
Tomahawk or hatchet with iron metal blade and buffalo hide wrapped around the wood shaft
Culture: 
Native American; Plains
Date: 
18th century
Period: 
Historic
Materials/Techniques: 
wood, iron, buffalo hide, horse hair, fur, shell
Object Type: 
Accession No: 
84.2144
Previous Number(s): 
Engles #265
Department: 
Not On View

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