We have two very nice Men’s leather bags decorated with silver in the gallery right now. The leather bag was used by most men to carry their belongings, but they were also used by the Medicine men to carry the items they used in the ceremonies they performed. They are generally referred to as Medicine Bags.
The brown colored bag has a large silver oval with a piece of beautiful natural turquoise set in the middle of the opening flap.
This piece came with a ribbon from an Indian art show held in 1959, but it was probably made years before and was given the ribbon at the show. It was common in the 1950′s, 60′s and 70′s at these shows for the organizers to walk around the different exhibitors’ booths and put ribbons on what they thought were the best pieces. It boosted sales and most pieces they selected were quality items, but buyers should remember that they are buying the piece and not the ribbon when you run into this type of item.
The edge of the opening flap and the strap that is worn over the shoulder is decorated with hand stamped silver buttons. In many of the old photographs taken on the Navajo reservation during the early part of the 1900′s, it was common for Navajo men to be wearing these bags. This is an exceptional piece any collector would be happy to own
The second bag, colored in black, is a thinner leather and was probably made later than the first one. It is also decorated with silver buttons but also has Indian Head nickels on the pouch flap. This bag has fringe on it and two of the fringes are tipped with silver bolo tips, two are tipped with tips made of a heavier metal.
The strap is decorated with stamped silver pieces that are decorated with single pieces of turquoise. This bag is much newer, probably from the 1960′s or 1970′s, and the silver and leather are both much lighter.
Both of these bags are wonderful decorative items that depict a different time and would make nice additions to any collection.