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Old 18th April 2017, 09:40 AM   #1
BANDOOK
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Default AMERICAN INDIAN WAR CLUB FOR COMMENT

A RECENT ACQUISITION ASSUME ITS A AMERICAN INDIAN WAR CLUB ,SUCH EXAMPLES HAVE BEEN AFFLIATED TO THE CHEROKEE TRIBES.
IT HAS GOOD PATINA BUT UNSURE SO WELCOME COMMENTS FROM MEMBERS
REGARDS RAJESH
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Old 18th April 2017, 05:23 PM   #2
David
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Let me qualify this statement by clearly acknowledging that this is not at all my field of study, however, i have great doubt of the authenticity of this club. It is very crudely put together in a manner that i doubt would hold up to any serious use and it is not at all decorated for ceremonial use. AFAIK Cherokee and other tribes generally used rawhide, not sinew, to bind their stone club and axe heads and generally cut grooves in the stone so that they would hold more tightly in place with the rawhide. It also seem quite small to be very practical. Frankly it looks more like the kind of stuff we used to make as kids either for play or cub scout projects. Again, this not being my field i may be totally off track on this, but that is my feeling from looking at these photos.
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Old 18th April 2017, 07:10 PM   #3
Jim McDougall
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Not my field either, but I was curious so spent several hours with various resources at hand. I very much agree with David, these stone head clubs actually used in various Plains tribes, were secured with rawhide which was wetted then when dried tightly secured the stone head. Sinew would not have been sufficient.

It also seems that these stone clubs became rather obsolete with steel tomahawks and especially firearms. Some later versions were used ceremonially, but with far larger stone heads and notable decoration.

The small size of this piece makes me wonder if it might have been a 'coup stick', many of which did have a small stone head. It sees that 'counting coup' was a distinguished feat of bravery which involved either touching a fallen enemy with the coup stick in the heat of battle or an active enemy without any intent of wounding or killing him, then rushing away.
There seem to be various interpretations of this according to tribes etc. which in some cases called for notching or embellishing the stick, but more complex than can be described at this point.
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Old 18th April 2017, 07:40 PM   #4
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It does not look right to me and I hope to show more when I get home.
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Old 19th April 2017, 09:32 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Not my field either, but I was curious so spent several hours with various resources at hand. I very much agree with David, these stone head clubs actually used in various Plains tribes, were secured with rawhide which was wetted then when dried tightly secured the stone head. Sinew would not have been sufficient.

It also seems that these stone clubs became rather obsolete with steel tomahawks and especially firearms. Some later versions were used ceremonially, but with far larger stone heads and notable decoration.

The small size of this piece makes me wonder if it might have been a 'coup stick', many of which did have a small stone head. It sees that 'counting coup' was a distinguished feat of bravery which involved either touching a fallen enemy with the coup stick in the heat of battle or an active enemy without any intent of wounding or killing him, then rushing away.
There seem to be various interpretations of this according to tribes etc. which in some cases called for notching or embellishing the stick, but more complex than can be described at this point.

THANKS JIM FOR YOUR VIEWS AND NEVER KNEW ABOUT THE COUNTING COUP,VERY INTRESTING,KIND REGARDS
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Old 19th April 2017, 04:53 PM   #6
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Rajesh, I am grateful for the opportunity to learn more about these American Indian weapons, and while I am constantly travelling through these very regions, I have been remiss in not learning more before.

In more research last night, I found the following which although pertaining to the Sioux tribes, certainly may be applied more broadly to Plains tribal situations in general. It is from a paper for the 'Academy of Science'
"War Clubs of the Sioux Indians"
W.H.Over (1920)
and I hope will serve in our archived corpus of material for future research as well as insight into this particular case involving these weapons.

"...the most formidable war club was the one adopted about 1850 with a stone head and wooden handle Indeed a blow from one of these struck by a strong Indian, would crush the skull of most animals. They were made, however, primarily for warfare. That these stone head clubs were not made, prior to the period mentioned is proven by the fact that practically none are found in the territory occupied by the Sioux. This writer has never found one and has collected extensively along the Minnesota, Blue Earth and Wantonwan rivers of southern Minnesota where the Sioux lived for many years before coming into Dakota territory. A very few have been found in South Dakota, but the small number indicates that they were made only within a short period.

Why was the stone head adopted at this late date? Was it possible that the Sioux had no need of such a weapon of warfare until changes brought about by the readjustment of Indian affairs made it necessary to adopt it? The evidence shows that the period of activity of manufacture of the stone heads was during the 1870s and early part of the 1880s. This was the time of unrest, or rather when the Sioux made the last effort for supremacy over the whites. Nevertheless, historically, war clubs with stone heads are not old; practically all were made between 1850 and 1890. It may be said that they were the work of the last generation.

These stone heads were made from hard material, usually granite or quartzite The type form is double cone, varying to egg shape, but always with a groove around the middle in which the handle was fastened.
The stone head war club averaged about two pounds in weight. It was attached to a wooden handle about 20 inches in length. These handles were small. When they were shaped to the proper size, one end was split and half of it removed , leaving enough of the other half to reach around the groove and extend a few inches down the handle, which was then wrapped with green rawhide, the leather extending around the wood in the groove. When dried, the rawhide shrank and the handle was fastened on securely.

As with most native implements the war clubs were more or less decorated.This was usually done with three or four eagle feathers or a cluster of painted hair from the tail of a horse, fastened at one or both ends. Frequently the handle was decorated with beads or porcupine quills.

The fact should be emphasized that we must not confuse the Sioux war clubs with the grooved stone mauls found so abundantly over the northwest prairie states. The latter will average five or six pounds in weight, are differently shaped, and are a distant implement made by an earlier inhabitant.

Many fake or imitation stone head war clubs have been made since 1890 out of soft material, as pipestone, gypsum and sandstone.

Clubs made in earlier times were mostly for ceremonial or decorative purposes, while those made after 1850 were for warfare. ".


The reason I wanted to add this excerpted material from this important paper here is that it gives a unique overview regarding these very weapons written in an anthropological perspective in key seminal times in these studies.
It must be remembered that in 1920, new interest had been rekindled toward the American Indian, and actually many interviews and studies were accomplished with surviving members of these tribes who had actually been at historic events of earlier times. For the first time even warriors who had been at the Little Big Horn gave their own recollections of the event as recounted in "The Custer Myth".

Returning to the item posted here, while not made in exactly the same method as the stone war clubs described here, it does seem to have enough of the character to suggest it was probably made by a Native American individual following the manner used for actual weapons.

It may likely be 'reservation period' and produced for ceremonial or perhaps dance use, but as noted, certainly has its own ethnographic value as such.
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Old 20th April 2017, 10:40 AM   #7
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Rajesh, I am grateful for the opportunity to learn more about these American Indian weapons, and while I am constantly travelling through these very regions, I have been remiss in not learning more before.

In more research last night, I found the following which although pertaining to the Sioux tribes, certainly may be applied more broadly to Plains tribal situations in general. It is from a paper for the 'Academy of Science'
"War Clubs of the Sioux Indians"
W.H.Over (1920)
and I hope will serve in our archived corpus of material for future research as well as insight into this particular case involving these weapons.

"...the most formidable war club was the one adopted about 1850 with a stone head and wooden handle Indeed a blow from one of these struck by a strong Indian, would crush the skull of most animals. They were made, however, primarily for warfare. That these stone head clubs were not made, prior to the period mentioned is proven by the fact that practically none are found in the territory occupied by the Sioux. This writer has never found one and has collected extensively along the Minnesota, Blue Earth and Wantonwan rivers of southern Minnesota where the Sioux lived for many years before coming into Dakota territory. A very few have been found in South Dakota, but the small number indicates that they were made only within a short period.

Why was the stone head adopted at this late date? Was it possible that the Sioux had no need of such a weapon of warfare until changes brought about by the readjustment of Indian affairs made it necessary to adopt it? The evidence shows that the period of activity of manufacture of the stone heads was during the 1870s and early part of the 1880s. This was the time of unrest, or rather when the Sioux made the last effort for supremacy over the whites. Nevertheless, historically, war clubs with stone heads are not old; practically all were made between 1850 and 1890. It may be said that they were the work of the last generation.

These stone heads were made from hard material, usually granite or quartzite The type form is double cone, varying to egg shape, but always with a groove around the middle in which the handle was fastened.
The stone head war club averaged about two pounds in weight. It was attached to a wooden handle about 20 inches in length. These handles were small. When they were shaped to the proper size, one end was split and half of it removed , leaving enough of the other half to reach around the groove and extend a few inches down the handle, which was then wrapped with green rawhide, the leather extending around the wood in the groove. When dried, the rawhide shrank and the handle was fastened on securely.

As with most native implements the war clubs were more or less decorated.This was usually done with three or four eagle feathers or a cluster of painted hair from the tail of a horse, fastened at one or both ends. Frequently the handle was decorated with beads or porcupine quills.

The fact should be emphasized that we must not confuse the Sioux war clubs with the grooved stone mauls found so abundantly over the northwest prairie states. The latter will average five or six pounds in weight, are differently shaped, and are a distant implement made by an earlier inhabitant.

Many fake or imitation stone head war clubs have been made since 1890 out of soft material, as pipestone, gypsum and sandstone.

Clubs made in earlier times were mostly for ceremonial or decorative purposes, while those made after 1850 were for warfare. ".


The reason I wanted to add this excerpted material from this important paper here is that it gives a unique overview regarding these very weapons written in an anthropological perspective in key seminal times in these studies.
It must be remembered that in 1920, new interest had been rekindled toward the American Indian, and actually many interviews and studies were accomplished with surviving members of these tribes who had actually been at historic events of earlier times. For the first time even warriors who had been at the Little Big Horn gave their own recollections of the event as recounted in "The Custer Myth".

Returning to the item posted here, while not made in exactly the same method as the stone war clubs described here, it does seem to have enough of the character to suggest it was probably made by a Native American individual following the manner used for actual weapons.

It may likely be 'reservation period' and produced for ceremonial or perhaps dance use, but as noted, certainly has its own ethnographic value as such.



Salaams Jim, That is a very excellent ethnographic gem to add to Library where it will sit well for future researchers and enthusiasts.
I was interested to learn that a sort of rifle butt concoction was fashioned by warriors copied it seems from a European rifle but some discussion arises as to its origin; ..The Gunstock Club, it is argued, may even have developed from the tribes admiration for the power of the rifle and thus developed a weapon from an obviously admired powerful item ..It appears that steel blades were inserted into handmade stock and butt arrangements ...and another school of thought considers that warriors may have seen the firearm swung by the barrel and the net effect it had as a club weapon.. and copied the concept in shortened form.
Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 20th April 2017 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 20th April 2017, 02:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
It may likely be 'reservation period' and produced for ceremonial or perhaps dance use, but as noted, certainly has its own ethnographic value as such.

I am sure that Rajesh appreciates your optimism here Jim, but i am afraid that i don't even see evidence that this is at all native made. I have found no examples of native made clubs for either war or ceremony that use sinew to attach heads. Even if such a practice were to be used for a club made purely for dance, would such a club, given its purpose, not then be ornately decorated? I'd hate for us to be giving Rajesh false hope here to any claims of authenticity.

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Old 19th April 2017, 09:28 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
Let me qualify this statement by clearly acknowledging that this is not at all my field of study, however, i have great doubt of the authenticity of this club. It is very crudely put together in a manner that i doubt would hold up to any serious use and it is not at all decorated for ceremonial use. AFAIK Cherokee and other tribes generally used rawhide, not sinew, to bind their stone club and axe heads and generally cut grooves in the stone so that they would hold more tightly in place with the rawhide. It also seem quite small to be very practical. Frankly it looks more like the kind of stuff we used to make as kids either for play or cub scout projects. Again, this not being my field i may be totally off track on this, but that is my feeling from looking at these photos.

THANKS DAVID FOR YOUR OBSERVATIONS,CHEERS
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