Authors’ Choice
One of the finest examples of mocotaugan art. Overall length, 11 5/8 inches. Shellacked maple handle with fully formed woman; with stacked hearts design on the reverse. Blade of recycled steel, 3/4 inch wide; binding of steel wire. Collected in the United States’ Mid-Atlantic region. Algonquin — possibly Delaware/ Leni-Lenape, circa 1840-1860. See the book, pages 105 and 107 for larger images.



Mocotaugan, the knife, was once one of the most essential tools for survival of the most widespread aboriginal families of North America.
     Mocotaugan, the book, is the first of its kind to provide readers with a broad survey of this highly distinctive Woodlands Indian artifact.
     (“Mocotaugan,” the word, is today generally pronounced “mah-kuh-TAW-gun.”)
     This artifact, often called a “crooked knife,” is anthropologically important, intriguing, and often beautiful. Yet the significance and merit of the knife is little known today outside of a small circle of anthropologists, collectors, curators, and native American craftsmen.
     Mocotaugan traces the history of the knife from its Stone Age origin to the present; and examines in unprecedented depth the art of that essential artifact.
     The publication and distribution of Mocotaugan is a non-profit effort to make the exceptional nature of this knife better known to as wide and diverse an audience as reasonably possible. To that end, the entire printed book is available for downloading in PDF form on this web site, on the condition that all use of text and images be properly credited.
     The book is based on substantial documentary research and the direct contributions of more than one hundred knowledgeable people, ranging from eminent anthropologists to Woodlands Indian natives who still make and use the mocotaugan.
     The authors consider this book to be a work in progress and welcome comments and information that may be used to further enhance public knowledge of this unique artifact. Contact: Mocotaugan, the Book, e-mail .