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Halberd Tomahawk

Updated: Apr 25, 2023

Halberd Tomahawk
Halberd Tomahawk by Iron John Logan

Halberd Tomahawk by Iron John Logan with porcupine quillwork wrap by Copperrein

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In the early interactions between European and Native People medieval type weapons were still common place in colonial armies. The halberd along with swords and dirks harken back to a more chivalrous age and became a sign of rank reserved for officers. It was thought at the time officers lead men better if they were unhindered by loading and firing a musket and thus relied on their antiquated pole arms as their only means of protection on the wild new American frontier. Native People quickly imitated both their dress and mode of arming themselves with their own leaders adopting the same badges of rank to exhibit their wealth and status as an individual.

Painting of halberd Tomahawk
King Hendrick of the Mohawk 1755

Many early prints depict Indian "kings" and Chiefs arming themselves with halberd tomahawks. The style ended in the 1760s when the British abandoned the halberd in favor of the spontoon (spear) for all officers and the Native Americans followed suit with the later spontoon tomahawk

Channelling the Royal feel for many of the surviving original halberd tomahawks I wanted a piece that exhibits the highest lever of detail and refinement within the architecture and construction of the simple parts; head, blade and handle. As with many of the originals I went with a construction more in tune with naval boarding axes of the period rather than the later common friction fit handle we are all used to seeing in tomahawks. Here the iron tang of the top blade passes through a mortice at the eye of the head and is hot set into the ferreled hickory handle locking all the parts together in one solid package. The hand forged blade and head of ax and hook are extensively hand filled and shaped by eye and are decorated with filed moldings and graceful chisel engraved lines of ogees, coves, and bead moldings intersecting and terminating at the forms of the body. Layers of aging and corrosion the iron parts exhibit a beautiful mottled blue/brown patina. Hickory handle is deeply carved with grip lines and molding features in the 18th century folk art style and is pierced with a square hole for wrist strap. Carvings hide current date and makers cartouche. Atop the steel ferrel of the handle is a wrap of plaited black and white porcupine quills with real sinew overlays and 12 red and tin tassels in the Native style. Age and patina by Artist

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