The cigar store Indian or wooden Indian is an old advertisement figure made to represent cigar shops. The figures were often three-dimensional wooden sculptures several feet tall - up to life-sized. They are still occasionally used for their original advertising purpose but are more often seen in decorative uses, or, for older ones, as advertising collectibles.
Because of the general illiteracy of the populace, early store owners used descriptive emblems or figures to advertise their shops' wares. Indians and tobacco had always been associated because Indians introduced tobacco to Europeans, and the depiction of native people on smoke-shop signs was inevitable. As early as the seventeenth century, European tobacconists used figures of Indians to advertise their shops.