Need a new shopping bag? Try a parfleche...
The Buffalo Bill Center of the West is so fortunate to have numerous historic Native parfleches in the collection of its Plains Indian Museum. The dozen below are just a sample. (Do your own search in "Online Collections" and you'll find out! Also, check out the Virtual Exhibit "Decorated Parfleches" by Nancy McClure for more.) Rawhide, the main material, came from large animals such as buffalo, elk, moose, deer and later, domestic cattle. The paint, used to enhance each container, came from pigments derived from minerals and vegetation. The "paintbrushes" used to apply pigments were made from bone, wood, horn, or stone. Much is often made of the idea that Indian people developed so many specialized bags, pouches, and other leather containers to assist them in their nomadic wanderings from place to place. In reality, though, Indian bag-making was just as prominent in highly settled agricultural tribes like the Cherokees and Navajos as it was among the Plains tribes who followed the buffalo herds. A leather bag is better suited for carrying certain objects than a pot or basket is, and native North Americans tended to place great importance on how well-matched a carrying case was to its contents. (native-languages.org)
A Buffalo Bill Center of the West Virtual Exhibit
Curated by: Marg2309