A tipi, which consisted of a hide cover placed over a wooden frame, was the dwelling favored by the Plains Indians.
For a people who spent most of their time on the move, the tipi was a perfect type of house, light to carry and easy to assemble and disassemble whenever necessary. The hide tipi covers also offered Indian artists a large surface to decorate.
The covers were usually painted by men with pictures that boasted about their exploits in battle. Sometimes they featured patterns at the top that were identified with a certain family.
These patterns could be seen from a long distance away and therefore acted as signals to let relatives know where their kin were camping.