A rare and wonderful folk art crooked knife by an unknown maker initialed "FL" and dated 1881. Embellished with a profusion of animal images raised above etched surfaces including two rattle snakes, a dog, a squirrel eating a nut: a cat/fox/pony? ... a deeply scales fish, a bird in flight; a star and six etched hearts.
The crooked knife which derives its name from the oblique angle of the handle to the blade [known as the Mocotaugan to Algonquin speaking tribes] is the essential carving tool of the eastern woodlands tribes as well as the non-native woodsman.
In the pantheon of crooked knives, those with animal or human imagery are the rarest. This example is embellished with creatures from the land, sea, and air in a realistic folk art composition. It's maker was an obvious master craftsman possibly making the knife for his own use or someone that he cared for... either way, the piece is singular in its imagery and stands as one of the finest examples of a folk art crooked knife extant.
Date: Circa 1881
Measurement: Length: 9.25" x Width: 1.75"
Material: Walnut burl wood, brass wire, steel blade.
Condition: Fine condition, original blade, and handle with a deep patina from use, minor surface abrasions and chips, later binding wire - as typical.
Provenance: Originally collected in Wisconsin purportedly from the family of the original owner.
Ex: Private Collection, Wisconsin.
Ex: Ned Jalbert Collection, Florida (author of Mocotaugan the Story and Art of the Crooked Knife)