Chippewa (Anishinaabe). <em>Ball-headed War Club with Carvings of Birds and Men</em>, early 19th century. Wood, pigment, 22 1/2 x 6 x 3 in. (57.2 x 15.2 x 7.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Henry L. Batterman Fund and the Frank Sherman Benson Fund, 50.67.84. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 50.67.84_acetate_bw.jpg)

Ball-headed War Club with Carvings of Birds and Men

Artist:Chippewa (Anishinaabe)

Medium: Wood, pigment

Geograhical Locations:

Dates:early 19th century

Dimensions: 22 1/2 x 6 x 3 in. (57.2 x 15.2 x 7.6 cm)


Museum Location: American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, Visions and Myths of a Nation, 1800–1890


Accession Number: 50.67.84

Image: 50.67.84_acetate_bw.jpg,

Catalogue Description:
Ball-headed war club with incised designs on the handle including six birds on one side and four (possibly) dancing or fighting figures on the other. The bird motifs are filled with black paint, the figures with red paint. The ball is painted black and there is fire decoration on the handle. The painted and incised designs on this club consist of six black gallinaceous birds (prairie chicken-like in silhouette) on one side. On the opposite side, two pairs of red human figures run toward one another. Each of the four carries a pipe in one hand and, in the other, an upraised arrow in an enigmatic pose. As demonstrated in this example, clubs were carved from one piece of wood. Often a thick branch attached to a trunk was chosen, or a knot of a tree would be formed into a head and the attached portion of the trunk into a handle, so that the grain had structural strength. The club is flat handled and sided and stained black at both the handle end and ball end.

Brooklyn Museum