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Tobacco Bag

Great Lakes, probably Ojibwa

Not on view

Porcupine quillwork, an art form unique to North American Indians, is featured on this early bag. The painted symbols and Thunderbird in the quillwork panel reference ritual pipe smoking and the use of tobacco as an act of prayer. Similar bags inspired those made on the Great Plains a century later. In 1721, a French trader, missionary, or military man labeled the bag an “artificial curiosity” and sent it to France from the Canadian colonies.

Tobacco Bag, Native-tanned leather, pigment, porcupine quills, metal cones, deer hair, Great Lakes, probably Ojibwa

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