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Extremely rare Missouri War Axe or Mandan Axe
The first known examples were discovered by the explorers Lewis and Clark while wintering with the Mandans. Introduced by early French traders they became a favorite among the upper Mississippi Pawnees, Mandans, Osage, Pauhuska, Otoe and Sac-Fox tribes. Lewis set his blacksmiths to forge copies for trade. This cast forged example was made by Dunlap and Florer trading post on the Osage Reservation at Pawhuska, Oklahoma, ca. 1840 -1860. It features the Bleeding Heart, (fifth wound of Christ). Early French Black Robes (Jesuit missionaries) turned many tribes Christian, and it was believed that the heart gave them special powers in battle. This museum grade axe features a head 7 3/4" long by 4" wide with 1" circular eye hole. Head with faint traces of punch dots around the twisted heart. The haft is believed original with much of its original black paint, showing wear and usage in battle. It is decorated with old square shank brass tacks in three circular rings on haft. Haft features a long Buffalo hide hair drop with early barrel trade beads and deer hoof rattles. Traces of old red ochre paint forms a pattern on the 18 inch drop. The haft end displays a serrated stair case cut end with traces of red ochre war paint. Many tribes used these war axes against rival tribes and they were handed down within the families. This axe is featured in "Ornamental Indian Artifacts" by Lar Hothem, p. 389. The rarity of these original-hafted Missouri war axes brings high prices among collectors. Former Charles Hanson Collection, founder of the Fur Trade Museum.