Leather bags like this one, called pipe or tobacco bags, were used to carry pipe stems, pipe bowls and tobacco. This bag is decorated with both quillwork and glass beads. Before beads were acquired through trade with Europeans, many Native American groups used porcupine quills to decorate things. The quills were softened, dyed, flattened and sewn onto leather to create colorful designs. The pipes on this bag were created with quillwork. Prior to and after the arrival of Europeans, many Native American groups smoked tobacco ceremonially. It was believed to help lift one’s thoughts to the spirits above, creating a path between earth and sky. Pipes were cherished and reserved for use during special meetings and ceremonies. This bag dates to around 1875-1885 and was created by the Cheyenne, a tribe of the Plains region.
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis
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Indians of North America
Indians of North America -- Social life and customs
Indians of North America -- Tobacco use
Cheyenne indians -- Social life and customs
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