The lot features a wonderful rare and unique Pawnee Missouri War Axe tomahawk that features a brass chain drop with sixteen human teeth tied onto it dating to circa 1850. The Pawnee Indians were known to have been brutal opponents and would often mutilate their war victims’ bodies including removing the noses, ears, fingers and teeth after battle. They were known to make necklaces and other embellishments out of the captured victims remains. For additional documentation on this, see Baldwin (1997) “Early Knives & Beaded Sheaths of the American Frontier” page 66. This tomahawk war club, which dates to circa 1850’s, is attributed to the Pawnee Native American Indians in Kansas and features a hand-forged axe head that has a rare and artful pewter silver four-point morning star cutout (cut out) inlay in the center of the blade. Along with the morning star inlay the tomahawk also shows a heavily filed ridged line over the eye hole and the haft has a fine serrated “staircase” cut bottom end, both being truly artful additions. The serrated “staircase” cut bottom end on the solid wood haft is a documented authentic feature on early Missouri War Axes. The drop shows a chain link design with trade thread tied on human teeth totaling sixteen along with some porcupine quilled ties with old tarnished brass trade beads holding two feathers. The piece was originally recovered with two juvenile Golden Eagle feathers as it was pictured with in the 2009 book, “The Mark Francis Collection of American Indian Art” on page 126 figure 198; and in the 2010 book, “The Missouri War Axe: War Tomahawks of the Plains and Prairies” by Mark Francis on page 58 figure 68. To comply with Federal wildlife laws regarding bird of prey feathers, the eagle feathers were removed and replaced with two Turkey feathers. Provenance: Truly a wonderful rare piece from the collections of Professor John Harbert and Mark Francis and being documented in two books as mentioned above. This is truly a unique and exceptional weapon of the Prairie region with wonderful history and a good original shiny and rich patina. The term "Missouri War Axe" was coined by American Indian weapons collectors to describe this particular style of tomahawk. They were first discovered by Lewis & Clark on their 1804-1805 expedition financed by Thomas Jefferson, which sent them exploring up the upper Missouri River basin. Meriwether Lewis wrote about these weapons and sketched one in his journal, stating that the local Indians were fervently requesting the expedition blacksmith to make additional examples for them. He went as far as to state that it was the only item the Indians were willing to trade corn, grain and other expedition necessities for and that manufacture, and trade of additional axes is what solely got the explorers through the winter of 1805. Only a small handful of tribes were known to have used this style of tomahawk and in only one specific region. They were made in small numbers, making early surviving examples such as this extremely rare and historically important. The head measures 8 inches in length by 4 ¼ inches wide across the bottom of the blade with a total length of 19 inches and the chain drop hangs an additional 17 inches long.
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