Artifacts

Mink Pouch
ITEM: No Provenance 08
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This beautiful silk lined pipe pouch is ornamented with small glass beads worked in patterns. It is used for carrying tobacco and pipes, suspended from a belt.

A mink has been completely hollowed and lined in order to create this pouch. The mink was one of many animals hunted by the Shoshone people. As a part of Shoshone beliefs, the mink was most likely used as a pouch to maintain a balance of power in the universe, not only between Shoshone people and the mink species, but between the lower and upper worlds. Since tobacco was used to send prayers to the upper world, a part of the mink may be offered by the tobacco that would have been put in the pouch. As a symbol, the use of the mink as a tobacco pouch helps to maintain a relationship with creation with the creator.