Sioux War Lance


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War lances were one of the most universally utilized weapons of the Native American tribes. This one belonged to a Sioux, made sometime in the 19th century. The lance’s shaft is made of wood, dyed and decorated as well as strengthened to avoid premature breakage. Around the top of the shaft, frilled cloth and leather bands have been wrapped around, providing additional decoration and protecting otherwise exposed wood from chipping or cracking. The weapons head has been cast from iron, in the shape of a leaf-blade. The lance measures (blank) long in total, with the weapon’s iron head measuring (blank).

Lances served two purposes in Native American society, firstly as a tool for hunting, secondly as a weapon in times of war. A lance provided certain advantages in both fields, it could be used from a safer range than tomahawks or war clubs and was also far easier to use and more maneuverable than a bow and arrow. When hunting, a lance would be used to strike down larger animals such as bears or bison, as these animals’ tough hides were capable of deflecting blows from bludgeoning tools and even arrows. In warfare, a lance would be paired with a small shield, protecting the wielder and allowing one to strike an opponent from a safe position. Use of lances was revolutionized when European settlers introduced horses and mounted warfare to Native Americans. The force of a strike from a warrior on horseback could easily cripple and incapacitate any foe. Horses also made the herding of bison far easier for tribes of The Great Plaines, who would prod the bison along with the tips of their spears.

Item #: 0013