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  • puzzle pouch?

    does anyone know about the origins of a thing called a 'puzzle pouch'? I've included a picture here of one... it's like a regular pouch, only the top is sewed through several layers, including one layer that has slits in the flap, so that you have to pull the pouch apart in order to get your fingers in there...




    a friend mentioned the mohawk currently make them... and another person mentioned the pouch may have apache origins ... ?

    Tara

  • #2
    I've seen photos of these things. I'm thinking up around the Great Lakes area. May very well be wrong, but that's what I'm guessing now.

    Whirlwind

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    • #3
      Originally posted by tprindle:
      does anyone know about the origins of a thing called a 'puzzle pouch'? ... a friend mentioned the mohawk currently make them... and another person mentioned the pouch may have apache origins ... ?
      Hi Tara --

      "American Indian Hobbyist", Vol. 6, Nos 5 & 6, 1960, page 71 has an article entitled An Iroquois Puzzle Pouch. All it says about the origins is "They are rarely seen today, but they were used by the Iroquois and other Woodland Indians." This is a nice article, complete with drawings and how-to instructions.

      Not much info added I'm afraid!

      Georg (yes, I'm still here!)

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      • #4
        Thanks for your replies Whirlwind and Georg!

        I'll pass that article reference along to my friend... explains why I havent seen that reference - I wasnt born until '63!

        -- I kinda figured that Black Forest might be you --

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        • #5
          Originally posted by tprindle:
          does anyone know about the origins of a thing called a 'puzzle pouch'? [IMG]

          Tara
          Here's a nice example collected Forest Potawatomi, Forest County, Wisconsin, ca.1920.
          Smoked indian tanned buckskin. Beads equivalent to 13/0. Bag only is 3" x 4 1/2".
          Think of its functionality. No need for a button or a snap. If you drop it your coins or other goodies won't spill out.
          Three views, in three seperate posts...hope this works.
          http://www.powwows.com/ubb/image_uploads/bag1.jpg


          [This message has been edited by MrRuminator (edited January 06, 2001).]
          Cat & Dog ...Another white meat.

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          • #6
            [QUOTE]Originally posted by MrRuminator:
            [B] Here's a nice example collected Forest Potawatomi, Forest County, Wisconsin, ca.1920.
            Smoked indian tanned buckskin. Beads equivalent to 13/0. Bag only is 3" x 4 1/2".

            Scan #2
            http://www.powwows.com/ubb/image_uploads/bag2.jpg
            Cat & Dog ...Another white meat.

            Comment


            • #7
              [B][QUOTE]Originally posted by MrRuminator:
              [B] Here's a nice example collected Forest Potawatomi, Forest County, Wisconsin, ca.1920.
              Smoked indian tanned buckskin. Beads equivalent to 13/0. Bag only is 3" x 4 1/2".

              Scan #3
              http://www.powwows.com/ubb/image_uploads/bag3.jpg

              Cat & Dog ...Another white meat.

              Comment


              • #8
                Mr. R,
                Nice little pouch. You don't often come across these things with so much decoration on them.

                These bags may have had some utilitarian purpose but they seem to be primariliy have been a game. You put something inside and passed it around and ppeople tried to guess what the item was inside. I don't know that there was any religious or sacred significance to them, as with some other games.

                I think it is a far stretch to find anything other than a Northeast/Lakes/Prairie origin for them. I wouldn't be surprised to find that they are European inspired. They seem to have been popular in those places where the French set up missions.

                Interesing to note that they are being made again by the Mohawks.

                I was once told that the game was to try to figure out how to open them, but they are all made the same way as far as i know.

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                • #9
                  <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by MrRuminator:
                  Here's a nice example collected Forest Potawatomi, Forest County, Wisconsin, ca.1920.
                  Smoked indian tanned buckskin. Beads equivalent to 13/0. Bag only is 3" x 4 1/2".
                  </font>
                  Mr. R !! Those are the coolest pics! Love the beadwork :-D I cant thank you enough for posting those!

                  That's the same basic principle in terms of the construction of the bag as the one that I attempted to make... only a way better (simpler) pattern it seems...

                  do you know if there is a double-thickness of leather on the flap on one side (side with the dome design) and a single-thickness of leather on the other side (the side with the flower design where the strings would pull through?) ... that's what I'm ? guessing ? from the scans you put up (as I sit here surrounded by scraps of paper and staples ;-) )

                  These pouches are so much fun, I was thinking of putting up a page on NativeTech about the puzzle pouches and how they're made ... but I was unsure of their origins ...

                  (now here comes my *extremely humble* request to everyone here that's posted information about them, and I would completely understand if it's not o.k.)

                  Mr. R., would it be possible for me to use a picture of the Forest Potawatomi pouch you posted? (oh please say yes... )

                  Whirlwind, Georg and Raptor, would it be ok if I quoted your comments about the puzzle pouches?

                  I'm extrememly grateful for everyone who commented on the puzzle pouches! If there's ever anything I can do for any of you guys, just ask!

                  :-D
                  Tara

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thank you Georg ... every little bit helps!

                    this is my attempt to do a pouch like the Potawatomi pouch that Mr. R posted... I still have quite a bit of beadwork to finish on it! *grin

                    <IMG SRC="http://nativetech.org/clothing/pouch/puzzlepouch/potawatomipouch.jpg" border=0>

                    again... many thanks! looking forward to hearing from Mr. Ruminator, Raptor, and Whirlwind :-)

                    Tara

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Tara,
                      Quote away...
                      There appear to be no real 'rules' as to how the pouches were made. I have seen them with the 'slats' and one side of the bag as a single piece, the other side of the bag is another piece, sometimes with the fringe attached and the flaps are two separate pieces sewn together through the slats. In this case there is no knot at the top of the slats Oh yes, the decorative fringe is sometimes sewn in and sometimes a part of one side of the pouch. There are also examples of the fringe side and flap out of a single piece while the other piece makes up the slats and the other side. I like the style with two flaps, personally. I wonder is there is a tribal preference for design and for decorated pouches? Anybody have anything on that?
                      I also wonder if these games might have just been made out of what scraps of leather were laying around?
                      My earlier comment as to all the pouches bein made the same way refers to the slats going through the flap(s).

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by tprindle:
                        Mr. R., would it be possible for me to use a picture of the Forest Potawatomi pouch you posted? (oh please say yes... )

                        If there's ever anything I can do for any of you guys, just ask!

                        :-D
                        Tara

                        </font>
                        hehe, want some candy little girl?

                        Jokes aside, Please, no groveling! Of course you can use the photos. Right click & save `em. I just laid the little jem on the scanner. I may be able to scan a cleaner pic when I get some time to play with the machine.

                        The overall length of the bag is 8 1/4" including the "slats." It's made from 3 pieces of hide. The flaps are one piece with holes thru the midline for the slats to be inserted. The back flap is stitched to the top of of the bag piece without the slats. The stitches are rather minute. The bag portion is held together with very fine whip stitches on the outside.

                        When I rummage through my stacks of stuff I may be able to come up with an 8"x10" pic showing three Potwatomi women all decked out and each holding a bag like this. They look like they're ready for a trip to Walmart!

                        Cat & Dog ...Another white meat.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          tprindle:

                          I don't think I want to be quoted. I'm afraid if news gets out of my superior knowledge of puzzle pouches, I'll be swamped with requests for more information.

                          Of course you can quote me, but the more important question is why?

                          Whirlwind

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Go ahead, Tara! It's not much that I could provide ... just looked up some article that I had in my beadwork folder.

                            Yes, those pictures are great, I love those narrow beads in particular and their beautiful old-timey colors!

                            Georg

                            I have to write a post or message to the administrator as the smileys don't seem to work correctly and the code doesn't show.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thank you *everyone* (very big grin :-D )

                              I'll post the url here when I get the page done!

                              Oh... in providing credits to people, It works for me to use the nicknames from the board here, but if anyone would like me to use their full name, just drop me a note in my inbox here or email me from the NativeTech pages.

                              THANKS!! :-)
                              Tara

                              Comment

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