Hidatsa Pipe Bag and Strike-A-Light
Hidatsa Pipe Bag CA 1880 Hidatsa Pipe Bag of Native tanned buckskin. Rawhide or parfleche quilled slats sewn to bottom of bag with sinew. Buckskin double fringe sewn to bottom. Unusual addition of a strike-a-light bag sewn directly on to undecorated uppper half of the bag. The front of the bag has a square panel at the lower half decorated with beading. Another unusual element of this bag is that the front of the bag is beaded in the flat stitch technique more common among the Northern tribes. The design on front and back is nearly identical, suggesting the same craftswoman perhaps trying two different beading techniques. The design on the front is a simple dragonfly pattern of a long central line of red white-hearts with light blue diamond terminals at each end. The line is broken by white beads where the "wings" of the dragonfly intersect, beaded in green white-hearts with "K" terminals having metal bead centers in each right triangle of the "K" and being outlined by red white-hearts. The bottom and top of the field are bordered with a meandering geometric line in green white-hearts. Each side is bordered by a vertical row of triangles based on a line of red white-hearts. The triangles alternate between light blue and green outlined in red white-hearts. Two elements of two diagonal beaded rows extend toward each other into the undecorated buckskin forming an open triangle "tipi" with poles. Each of these is painted in the center with red ochre and topped by two tin cones with dyed horsehair tufts connected to a single small buckskin thong that has been punched through the hide. Above these is attached the unusual strike-a-light made by sewing an elongated semicircle to the bag for the pouch and another shorter semicircle above for the flap. The pouch is patterned almost like a moccasin upper, as the shape lends itself to this design tendency, with a center line of green white-hearts broken occasionally with white box "tracks". The "Buffalo track" is beaded in orange and the whole is surrounded by a field of green white-hearts and bordered in white with green white-heart "tracks" within the white field. The pouch edge in alternating orange and green white-heart. The flap of the bag follows this pattern being bordered in the same white with green white-heart tracks, green white-heart mid line and orange "buffalo track" with a German silver button in the center. The edge of the flap is laced and decorated with 10 tin cone dangles with dyed horse hair tufts. The back of the bag is almost identical in design done in lazy stitch with the substitution of orange beads for the metal in one of the "K" phalanges and the omission of two of the triangles that border one of the sides. The seam panels match more closely the colour theme of the strike-a-light pouch being done in a broad white vertical band with vertical hourglass designs in orange with red white-heart bases and tips surrounded by a forked design in green white-hearts with red white-heart tips. The lip of the bag is beaded in white, green white-hearts, red white-hearts, and orange. All of the undecorated buckskin has been rubbed with yellow ochre. The slatted panel at the bottom of the bag is short, quill wrapped with dyed porcupine quills in a repeating "H" design in red with purple terminals against a white background. Complete bag is approximately 34 inches long including the 12 inches of fringe at bottom. The bag measures approximately 6 1/2 inches at its widest point.
Condition: One of the tin cones around the strike-a-light flap is missing a tuft. Quilled slats show an approximate quill loss of 60%. All tanned hide is supple.