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Parfleche Envelope

Central Plains

ca. 1890

rawhide, paint
length: 27 ½"

Inventory # P4339


"The exceptional quality of Cheyenne artistic traditions is widely recognized and is clearly visible in the technical excellence and unsurpassed elegance of their parfleches. Among the Cheyenne, artistic expression was a manifestation of religious belief, and the creation of various art forms was directed and strictly maintained by guilds comprised of elected women recognized for their skill, character, and spiritual knowledge...The distinctive character of Cheyenne parfleches emerges from the power of the drawing. The images possess a sense of tension and a precise linear structure deriving from the artists' emphasis on fine, brown-black outlining, which the primary activating elements of the paintings. The effect of line is frequently enhanced by the placement of small black units throughout the design; these units...establish shifting focal points and rhythmic directional movements. They also dramatically extend the complexity and scale of elements comprising the image. These units are integrated within the order of larger colored forms through the linear framework established by the outlining, which also separates painted and unpainted areas and borders all colored shapes." 

- Gaylord Torrence, The American Indian Parfleche, 1994, p.110.

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