American Native Arts and Antiques

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Bear & Wabanaki Designs - Neck Knife /w birch bark sheath


Neck knife: Bear and Wabanaki double curve motifs of porcupine quill on handmade birchbark sheath with skinning knife by Paul St John, Mohawk craftsman. This birch bark neck knife sheath has a large "cinnamon" bear at the top and Wabanaki double curve designs the front bottom. Bear is of variegated rich rust brown dyed porcupine quill - and the double curve designs on the bottom front are of blue dyed porcupine quill. The entire sheath is bordered in red dyed quill. In the mountain west where I grew up we called the brown bears there "cinnamon bears" - perhaps because they are the color of actual cinnamon.

Birch bark or leather were the original knife sheath materials used long before European contact by many different tribes when the knife blades were made of flint knapped obsidian and handles were of wood, bone or antler. Here Paul St John has made a traditional birch bark knife sheath with borders of red dyed porcupine quill. The leather neck strap is of soft native tanned deer leather and there is an antique large light green glass bead at each side where the strap is tied to the top of the sheath. The small knife is a "skinning" style knife - a shape used for over 300 years by many Native American tribes.

The neck knife was made by many Native American tribes, worn around the neck the small knife in the sheath was always handy. This is a great looking knife/neckknife sheath for reenacting or regalia and adding a knife will prove very useful for hunters, campers, hikers, crafts folk, etc - and ... and would this would look great in a display case too!

Here the sheath is 5.75" long, 2.75" across at top (tapers to a point at the bottom). The neck straps are about 22" long so you can tie this as long or as short to your neck as you like. The knife is 4.5" long with a 2.25" blade and a handmade wooden handle... (you may have a favorite small knife that you would like to substitute....)

 Bear Neck Knife/Sheath
 Bear Neck Knife/Sheath - TOP
 Bear Neck Knife/Sheath - BOTTOM
Weight: 12 oz