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Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford
Item: bag

Date: 1827

Area: Northern Québec

Catalogue number: Pitt Rivers I.22

Dimensions: Length without fringe 28.2cm; fringe length 4cm; width 15.5cm; pipe cleaner: length 6.5cm; width 1cm

Motifs: Geometric shapes on pipe cleaner (see Notes)

Collector: Lieutenant Nixon

Notes: Tag attached to bag reads: "Bag made of caribou skin and the throats of two loons (Colymous immer) with bone pipe-cleaner attached to thong. N. Quebec: Naskapi-Montagnais Indians. coll. Lieut Nixon, 1827. d.d. [donated] Miss Nixon, 1887." Catalogue note written by G.E.S.Turner reads: "Originally described as a "medicine bag...covered partly with the skin from the breast of wood duck." The plumage is, however, undoubtedly from the neck of the loon, and the absence of means of secure closure suggests that the bag would not have been used to contain sacred objects. Assigned to Naskapi-Montagnais group [now recognized as Cree] on the grounds of the pipe-cleaner." As loon skins are considered to be appropriate containers for keeping sinew moist, the same reasoning can apply to tobacco.

References: Oberholtzer, Cath. 1990. Pipe Dreams and Dream Motifs. Papers of the Twenty-first Algonquian Conference. Ed. William Cowan. Ottawa: Carleton University. Pp.279-294.