Buffalo Robe Painter

Price: $148.00


John Jenkins Designs

A buffalo robe is a cured buffalo hide, with the hair left on. They were used as blankets, saddles or as trade items by the Native Americans who inhabited the vast grasslands of the interior plains. Some were painted with pictographs or winter counts that depict important events such as epidemics, famines and battles.

The people of the North American Plains were predominantly nomadic, living in large territories roamed by great herds of buffalo. Plains Indian men wore buffalo hides as robes. They painted their warlike deeds onto them. Men gained honour from brave deeds in war, including striking or killing enemies, being wounded, capturing horses and taking scalps.

From the 1840’s to the 1870’s the great demand for buffalo robes in the commercial centres of Montreal, New York, St. Paul and St. Louis was a major factor that led to the near extinction of the species. The robes were used as blankets and padding in carriages and sleighs and were made into buffalo coats.
Only hides taken in winter between November and March when the furs are in their prime were suitable for buffalo robes. The summer hides were used to make coverings for tipis and moccasins and had little value to traders.