Buffalo Hair Ropes


   Buffalo hair ropes are extremely rare.  Technically a buffalo has wool and not hair, allowing its fibers to be carded, spun and finally braided.  To the right are two ropes using 16 strands of yarn which has been spun as a 2-ply to make eight strands which was braided as a square rope.  Such ropes were used as a rein on a horse or to hang a tipi liner.  Rawhide ropes were more often used, but hair ropes were useful because they were not affected by moisture.

L. Belitz, Plains Indian Material Culture Expert/Consultant