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Rare Missouri War Axe, Mandan Tomahawk, Early 19th C
The famous Lewis and Clark expedition found the Missouri War Axe (also known as a Mandan Tomahawk) already in use by Western tribes in 1805. They were popular with the Mandan, Iowa, Sauk Fox, Pawnee, Comanche, Osage, and Oto tribes. William Clark made drawings of the design and instructed blacksmiths to make them as trade pieces in exchange for corn to get them through the winter. Lewis mentions that they were made of iron with a thin blade, often with decorative piercings, a 1" round eye, straight top edge, and an angled bottom edge. These were popular until the 1860's. This example features an 8" long head with indistinct makerís stamp and old, but not original, haft with later red trade cloth, brass tacks, and a pipe hair drop with trade beads. Tom Richards Collection.