Sioux Quilled Pipe Bag

buffalo hide

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This Pipe Bag, crafted by a Sioux in the late 19th century, is made from tanned bison hide. The bag prominently features decorative quilling which by this period, had become less common in favor of bead work. The use of ornate quilling reinforces the likelihood that this pipe bag was decorative in nature and intended for ceremonial use. This bag features a long bare neck of bison hide, a pocket strike-lite, and a quilled lower panel, which ends in prominent frilling.

Pipe bags were a common item between numerous Native American nations. Although pipe bags were occasionally left unadorned, most were elaborately decorated with quilling or beads. Native American tribes had purchased or traded for beads with many of the European settlers, and by the early 20th century quilling had largely become a decorative style of the past. Pipe bags would be used to house tobacco, pipes, and could be crafted for casual everyday use. More often though, these ornate bags were meant for ceremonies. They would typically be kept by the tribe’s medicine man and housed special pipes, such as a Chanunpa. Lakota Sioux myths state the first Chanunpa was brought to their ancestors by The White Buffalo Woman, a prophetic figure in their legendarium. This Chanunpa was one of the “Seven Sacred Rites” and meant for use as a bridge from the physical world to what the Lakota called “The Great Mystery”. Use of sacred pipes was considered a form of prayer and smoking took part in many various traditional ceremonies.

Item #: 0005