From the Upper Plains region and made by the Omaha, this parfleche trunk is decorated in bright, strong colors. Collected early, it appears never to have been used. Collected around 1900. The term parfleche was first coined by the French fur traders and derived from the French word “parer” meaning defend and “fleche” meaning arrows, as the hide was tough enough to be used as a shield and deflect an arrow. The original containers had graphics that were maps, geographical depictions such as rivers and mountains, or symbols that told the family’s stories. Once the parfleche left the family, the story was lost and the parfleche became Native American art rather than a meaningful storyteller.
PERIOD: Early 20th Century
ORIGIN: Nebraska, United States
SIZE: 14" x 8" x 7"