Object photography

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Object description

  • Iroquois artist
  • Knife, 19th century
  • Wood, steel, leather
  • Northeastern United States, New York, North America
  • L: 10 1/8 in, W: 1 3/4 in, D: 2 1/8 in (L: 25.7 cm, W: 4.4 cm, D: 5.4 cm)
  • Gift of Mr. Stephen Wheatland, 1954
  • E31667
  • Indigenous carvers throughout New England and Canadian Maritimes made and used crooked knives
  • Leather strap covers up wire binding underneath for comfort and usability

A crooked knife is a multi-purpose tool used by Native carvers in the Northeastern United States and Canadian Maritimes in a range of activities from making canoes, baskets, and fires to shaping ax handles, architectural details, and snow shoes. Crooked knives were personal objects, and the motifs and designs could represent a newly discovered form, trend, or item of personal interest. The horse's head on this knife suggest the owner may have been a farrier, or horse shoer.