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Parfleche - Term applied both to the rawhide and to the container made from it.  The parfleche was the suitcase or trunk of the Plains and Rocky Mountain tribes.  It was made in various sizes from rawhide molded into shape and lashed together while damp.

Parfleches were used for storing food such as pemmican, and clothing, and other articles.  They were usually about two feet by three feet in size.  Smaller ones, more like large envelopes were used for paints, mirrors, and personal effects.  The parfleche was painted with a design and sometimes had fringed edges.

The most probable derivation is from the French par meaning "for," and fleche, meaning "arrow,"  - as Indians often made quivers in the same fashion.  Some believe it came from the French parer, "to ward off," or "parry," and fleche, "arrow," or a rawhide shield for warding off arrows.

Related Information within this Site
[ Bags and Pouches ][ Paint ][ Pemmican ][ Quiver ][ Rawhide ]