Ethnographic Arms & Armour
 

Go Back   Ethnographic Arms & Armour > Discussion Forums > Ethnographic Weapons
User Name
Password
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 28th October 2019, 03:27 PM   #1
Martin Lubojacky
Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Czech Republic
Posts: 724
Default North American Indian knife

Please, could anybody advise which tribe and how old the knife could be ? Souvenier or real tool ?
My idea is either Eastern Plains Sioux or Assiniboin style of the sheath (???). I bought it in Europe.
Attached Images
      
Martin Lubojacky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th October 2019, 09:54 PM   #2
Jim McDougall
Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 7,687
Default

While I am certainly no authority on American Indian weapons or items, I am really glad to see them brought up here for discussion. From all I can find, the diagonal geometrics and general design of the scabbard here does correspond to Plains tribes and of the Sioux spectrum of associated tribes.
The Assiniboine are a Siouxan inclusion (known also as Nakota) and similar designs found in their material culture.

The handle appears to be a badger jaw bone, which seems to have been used in these smaller knives. The bead work appears to be the smaller type which came into Indian trade from Czechoslavakia in latter 19th c. but the colors are unusual, and seem particularly vibrant.

The blade seems of course typical of knives present in these times worn as belt knives for utility usually, skinning etc. Contrary to popular belief, the knife was never a primary weapon, nor favored means of fighting for Indian warriors.

The fact that the back of the scabbard remains wood and uncovered by beading, the apparent aging of it and the jawbone suggests it is quite probably a genuinely worn weapon...but again, that is my assumption based on visual assessment from these photos. There are of course considerable cases of spurious items out there, but it sure looks like real deal.

Great knife with wonderful character!!! Wish we would see more of these American Indian items here.
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th October 2019, 02:48 AM   #3
Battara
EAAF Staff
 
Battara's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 6,270
Default

I agree with your assessment Jim, except that the back is not wood but perhaps rawhide. The pattern and colors are consistent with Plains designs, like what you see on some moccasins of the same period. Use of lazy stitch was/is popular among Plains Native Americans (among others) as well.

Great piece and for sharing it - palamiya (Lakota for thank you).
Battara is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th October 2019, 10:23 AM   #4
Martin Lubojacky
Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Czech Republic
Posts: 724
Default

Thanks for comments. I forgot to mention the length of the knife, which is 34 cms. From this I thought the handle could be wolf or small bear. The back is really rawhide.
Martin Lubojacky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th October 2019, 06:30 PM   #5
Jim McDougall
Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 7,687
Default

Thanks guy, I need better glasses, rawhide makes perfect sense.
Im thinking a small bear on the jaw.
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th November 2019, 09:58 PM   #6
BAW
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
Posts: 1
Default North American Indian Knife

As to the age of this knife & scabbard, it is sometimes difficult to tell a 20th or 21st century copy from a 19th century original if the proper techniques of hand manufacture are used. The materials used can be helpful, however. The tang of the blade seems to be inserted into the hollow bone of the handle and has no rivet or other means of fastening it. What holds it in? If you look down the blade towards the handle, can you see into the hollow part of the bone? If you see evidence of the hollow having been filled with epoxy and the tang having been pushed into it, it indicates late manufacture. As Battara indicates, the technique of beading is called "lazy stitch" and is the easiest and fastest way to cover an area with beadwork. It is also quite fragile and was not the preferred method of beading an object which was to be subjected to hard use. Can you tell what kind of thread the beads are strung on? An older 19th century example might use animal sinew, and later 19th century examples might use cotton thread. Many, perhaps most modern makers of Indian style beadwork use dental floss.
BAW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd December 2019, 12:06 AM   #7
Cthulhu
Member
 
Cthulhu's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Central Valley, California
Posts: 29
Default

Is this comfortable to hold? The teeth in the handle are very attractive, but I wonder how practical they are, given the various other bones that presumably are available if you have a bear jaw at your disposal. Of course practicality doesn't mean everything, but it does make me wonder.

Verifying if the beads are glass or something else might be helpful for dating this.

Also looking at the punched holes in the sheath in one of your photos, it looks like there's leather sticking out as an artifact of the punching, which I would think would be worn off if this item had seen much use.

Please take as a caveat that I know literally nothing about Native American tools.
Cthulhu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd December 2019, 09:33 AM   #8
kronckew
Member
 
kronckew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: CSA Consulate, Rm. 101, Glos. UK: p.s. - Real Dogs Have Feathering.
Posts: 3,116
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by BAW
... The tang of the blade seems to be inserted into the hollow bone of the handle and has no rivet or other means of fastening it. What holds it in? If you look down the blade towards the handle, can you see into the hollow part of the bone? If you see evidence of the hollow having been filled with epoxy and the tang having been pushed into it, it indicates late manufacture. ...


Native Americans were capable of using tree resins and water resistant glues.
kronckew is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd December 2019, 11:31 AM   #9
Martin Lubojacky
Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Czech Republic
Posts: 724
Default

Kronckew, Cthulhu and BAW, Thank you for your additional remarks. And welcome to the forum, BAW.

The knife is not with me now and IŽll see it ca in half a year, again. Nevertheless, what I remember: the small beads on the shetah are made of glass. The bigger bead (with flower ?) on the pendant is made of glass and is very well worn. Other beads on the pendant are made of wood. Back side of the sheath is not worn (if I compare with African knives). The handle is, I would say, nearly absolutely ergonometric and was used. The teeth donŽt matter, just opposite. The blade has tongue, it fell out and I glued it back (there is a hole in the handle). The sewing material is a mystery for me - I was not able to recognize, if it was some kind of a flat plastic thread or natural sinew, it is somehow "dry".
Martin Lubojacky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd December 2019, 02:25 PM   #10
Pukka Bundook
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 775
Default

It looks an interesting and attractive knife, Martin.

The handle on this appears to be a bear jaw-bone, and there was some made this way originally.
The blade looks more modern than I would expect for an original artefact, as does the sinew or whatever holding the rawhide sheath together.
Things like the stitching and the holes normally get rubbed and filled with dirt/grease and polished a bit with wear and carrying.
Holes were normally made with an awl, rather than being punched out.
I think (Think) it may be a nicely made more recent piece.


Thank you for showing it! We don't see many N American pieces here!

All the best,
Richard.

PS,

This reminds me of a knife my daughter has;
It was found at a buffalo jump in southern Alberta. Will take photos and post it on a new thread.
Pukka Bundook is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT. The time now is 09:52 AM.


Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Posts are regarded as being copyrighted by their authors and the act of posting material is deemed to be a granting of an irrevocable nonexclusive license for display here.