Parfleche Case

Crow, Montana


Parfleche Case, ca. 1885

  • On View

Cattle rawhide and pigment

Dimensions: 25 5/16 × 16 1/2 in. (64.3 × 41.9 cm)

Museum purchase from the Chandler/Pohrt Collection, 1985.32

The women of the Plains tribes made rawhide cases for the storage of a variety of goods including clothing and foodstuffs. These rugged containers were well suited to their nomadic lifestyle. The front surface provided an ideal "canvas" for decoration with bold geometric designs in primary colors. The term "parfleche" was adapted from the French of early fur traders. It refers to the raw hide - cleaned, dried, but untanned hide. This material was also used for shields and had the ability to "turn away" (par) "arrows" (fleche). In time, the term came to refer to these distinctive rectangular cases.

Image Permissions

Explore Related Objects

Medicine Case, ca. 1870-1880
Crow, Montana

Buffalo rawhide, elk hide fringe, red and black wool cloth, and paint

Dress, ca. 1880
Crow, Montana

Wool cloth, glass beads, elk teeth and imitation elk teeth made from bone

Rifle Scabbard, ca. 1880
Crow, Montana

Elk hide, glass beads, red and blue wool cloth

Martingale (Horse Ornament), ca. 1885
Crow, Montana

Deerskin, canvas, glass beads, and brass bells