A DAKOTA PARFLECHE
Dakota Indians, North America
Late 19th century, leather and pigments, 33 x 25 cm
Ex collection Heinrich Umlauff, Hamburg, Herman Seeger, Stuttgart
Rawhide, leather and cotton, paintings on both sides
Native American rawhide container (Parfleche) that is embellished by painting, incising, or both. Envelope-shaped parfleches have historically been used to contain items such as household tools or foods. They were commonly made in pairs and hung from saddles. Their designs may have once served as maps. In contemporary usage, they may carry social, spiritual, and symbolic meaning, or be part of dance or parade regalia.
The bags are usually decorated with a distinctive style of graphic artwork, often symbolizing landscape features such as rivers and mountains. Historically women were the main creators of parfleches, first painting stretched-out raw hides, then shaping them into their final form. In the 21st century, both women and men make them.
Price on request.