American Native Arts and Antiques

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Crooked Knife w/traditional vine & cross hatch designs.


This crooked knife is an older one - at latest the 1880's and quite likely earlier. The handle has an incised vine/vegetal design that can also be found on older Maine Indian root club handles. Some root clubs with this design date to the mid-1700's. The handle of this crooked knife has this design on the top of the handle; back, top and sides. The lower part of the handle where the blade tang is attached has deeply incised cross-hatch design...another design found on older root club handles, perhaps later than the vine design....early 1800's.

This is 10" long from top of handle to tip of blade. Blade is 4" long and made from an old file - quite sharp. The handle is 1.5" wide, the top of the handle (grip part) is 3.25". It is wrapped with brass wire. This may be original wrap but it was/is very common to replace the wrap if the blade becomes loose as it often does with use. Wooden peg/piece is used under the blade at end of handle to "tighten" it.

There is a natural split in the wood on the handle insertion part, above the brass wire. There is slight wear and coloration from use, tho less than usual for a crooked knife of this age.

Crooked knives were a part of the Wabanaki live prior to European contact (Wabanaki - Northeast federation of 5 tribes most living still in Maine, Eastern Canada & 1, the Abenaki are in Vermont and Eastern Canada) Crooked knives were essential to build birch bark canoes, make baskets, build wigwams, canoe paddles and more... Read more on the history, use and construction in the "News" section of this website.

Vine design Crooked knife
Vine design Crooked knife, other side
Vine design Crooked knife, handle back
Vine design Crooked knife, side close
Vine design Crooked knife, front
Weight: 1 lb