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Flat Bag Parfleche: Gallery Label - Current


Minneapolis Institute of Arts



Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Smaller size containers, particularly cylinders, held special items or feathers while larger cylinders held ceremonial clothing or rolled up feathered headdresses. Ceremonial containers were often more heavily laden with fringe, which heightened their visual effect as they were hung from horses or on tripods outside of dwelling places.This Inuna-Ina (Arapaho) cylinder bears important cultural and spiritual symbols; the crescent shape represents a Thunderbird's talons while the forked shape represents lightning. The top opening flap is typical of cylinder lids, which almost always show a design based on the number four within a circle symbolizing the continuity of life and honoring the four sacred directions.These Tsistsistas (Cheyenne) and Inuna-Ina cases share a green and red color scheme, which is a common characteristic of southern Plains tribes. Yet the Tsistsistas people maintained an entirely exclusive and consistent design aesthetic, which is beautifully demonstrated by this heavily fringed flat case. The drawing is precise, balanced, and elegant and although less frequently collected, Tsistsistas containers are all of superior quality. Their consistent aesthetic is due to the fact that painting was regulated by an exclusive society that only accepted women who possessed exceptional skill and spiritual knowledge, for the tribe recognized all decorated objects as physical expressions of their spirituality.
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Type: Commentary, Gallery Label - Current
Source: Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Rights: Copyright Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Added to Site: March 10, 2009