What is a parfleche?
- A parfleche is a Native American bag or pouch usually made from dried, stretched, buffalo hide.
- It held dried meat (pemmican), nuts, medical herbs, and small treasures.
- The original bags were decorated with symbolic maps of the surrounding areas, often depicting important rivers and mountains.
- They were later painted in bright, geometric designs, probably to distinguish the owners.
- Flat parfleches were around 2′ x 3′ in size, and they folded over like an envelope that was tied together with hide laces. They were perfect for carrying on the side of a horse.
- The Sioux also made larger raw-hide boxes and tubes. These were used as suitcases for storing and transporting headdresses, feathers, clothing and moccasins.
Encyclopedia of Britannica, “Parfleche: American Indian Art” at https://www.britannica.com/art/parfleche
Wikipedia, “Parfleche” at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parfleche
State Historical Society of North Dakota, “Parfleche” at http://history.nd.gov/activities/parfleche.pdf