Introduction Patagonia Andes Amazon Mesoamerica / Caribbean Southwest Plains / Plateau Woodlands California / Great Basin Northwest Coast Arctic / Subarctic Contemporary Art

Potawatomi bag
ca. 1890
Nettle fiber, wool yarn, dye
62 x 40 cm
The David C. Vernon Collection
Exchanged from Jackson Hole Preserve, Inc.

The designs on the exteriors of twined bags, referred to as panel bags, deal with fundamental cosmological concepts shared throughout the Great Lakes area. Twined bags often combine images of cosmological creatures like Underwater Panthers, as seen on this Potowatomi panel bag, and Thunderbirds. These bags are referred to as panel bags because they combine two different twining techniques: one on the outer edges and sides, and another for the panel contained within them. This panel is twined with alternating colors. Nettle fiber is used for the light color and animal wool for the dark; dark and light are manipulated to bring one color forward and the other back to create the designs. This particular panel bag includes red wool yarn, probably unraveled from a blanket, which creates framing bands on either side of the panel. The design on the panel shows four Underwater Panthers, probably males and females. The two on the lower register facing each other have heads with horns; those are very likely the males. The two above are without horns and may be the females. The tails of both pairs wrap around and join between them.

Back to Top
Back to Top