Pipe or Tobacco Bag

Pipe or Tobacco Bag

c. 1870

Native-tanned hide, yellow pigment, glass beads, red trade cloth, tin cones, sinew thread

Overall: 71.1 x 12.7 cm (28 x 5 in.)

Gift of Amelia Elizabeth White 1937.871

Did you know?

Glass and metal beads were imported from Europe.

Description

The shape of this bag indicates it was made to hold tobacco and one of the pipes that played a paramount role in the lives of Plains nations. Smoking is a means of prayer—the smoke carries thanks and entreaties into the other-than-human realm—and pipes were lit to seek protection and guidance on new endeavors, during alliance and dispute negotiations, to mark life’s milestones, and in many other situations. By the late 1800s, when this example was made, such bags were a standard element of prestigious men’s formal dress regalia.

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