Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1754 Iroquois sachem
Subject: sachem war chief
Culture: Iroquois & allied Indians
Setting: French & Indian War / Pontiac's War, Great Lakes/Ohio Valley 1702-1784
Object: clubs

Ball Headed

* Taylor 2001 p21-22
"Most impressive of all Eastern Woodland striking weapons are the magnificent ballheaded clubs much favored by the Iroquois and Huron and described as early as 1635.  One notable authority on the Iroquois described such clubs as 'a heavy weapon two feet in length made of ironwood with a globular head five or six inches in diameter.  The head sometimes resembled a human face or a ball enclosed by claws.'"

* Sheppard ed. 2006 p57-58
"Before the trade tomahawk and gun came into popular use by the eastern Indians, their principal weapons were the bow, the stone tomahawk, and the war club.  The war club was a heavy weapon, usually made of ironwood or maple, with a large ball or knot at the end.  Some antique clubs in museums have a warrior's face carved on the ball, sometimes with inlaid wampum (beads cut from the shell of the clam or conch), a long-tailed carved serpent on the top of the ball adjoining the shaft, and a cross motif.  The shafts were also occasionally carved with war records and decorated.  It appears to have been a devastating weapon at close quarters."

* Jones 2004 p48
"Father Joseph François Lafitau (1681-1746), one of the first to describe Northeastern people in some detail, wrote that their major offensive weapons included the bow and arrow, the war club, and the thrusting spear, the war club being the preferred close-in weapon.  'The casse-tete, or ball-headed war club, takes the place of a sword or club.  It is made of a tree root, or some other very hard wood, two or two and a half feet long, squared on the sides, and widened or rounded to the width of a fist at its end.'"  [reference omitted]

* Hofsinde 1965 p32-33
"For close fighting the Iroquois had war clubs, which were beautifully made.  The simplest kind consisted of a long handle ending in a ball.  Often the ball was skillfully carved to represent a human head.  Some warriors made even more elaborate cubs and added the head of a wolf or a bear, with its open jaw clamping down on the large carved ball.  Other clubs ended in an oversized bird, worked in the finest detail, holding the ball in its claws or talons."

* Graymont 1988 p15 caption
"Used to give a hammer blow or thrown with stunning accuracy, the war club was a formidable weapon."


* McNab 2010 p23
"The effectiveness of the tomahawk was dramatically improved with the adoption of iron heads, which increased the weight, sharpness and durability of the blade.  Such qualities were important, as the tomahawk was as much used for utility purposes, such as chooping wood and meat, as it was for combat.  During a fight, however, the tomahawk was often thrown as well as being used hand-to-hand."


* Taylor 2001 p23
"Gunstock clubs -- so called because they were carved in the form of a European gunstock -- were popular and widely used in the Woodland area, Peterson recording that they were in use as early as 'the beginning of the 17th century.'  Generally some 30 inches (75 cm) or more in length, they usually differed from the earlier style of sword-type club by having a blade of flint, horn or iron set into the upper end; the stock itself was often decorated with engravings or brass-headed trade tacks."

* McNab 2010 p22
"Later clubs, known as gunstock clubs, were shaped in a similar fashion to a musket stock, with the addition of a metal blade to provide a cutting effect."


* McNab 2010 p22
"Other Eastern Indian club weapons more resembled wooden swords, with sharpened edges providing something of a cutting effect, or were fitted with antler, stone, bone or metal spikes to create a penetrating injury." 

* Taylor 2001 p20-21
"Varying considerably in style -- some had shark teeth or flints set along the edge, others were notched or plain -- the sword-club was later popular among the Iroquois and extended as far north as the tribes of southern New England.  A relatively simple form of this club was collected from the Tuscarora by Prince Maximilian du Wied.  Some 2 feet (62 cm) in length, it had been preserved and used by the Tuscarora in their dances, 'as a memory to their past.'  Although at the time of Maximilian's visit the Tuscarora had long been associated with the Iroquois, their earlier homeland was considerably further south, perhaps extending as far as the coast of present-day South Carolina."