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Bag or Purse

1600-1625
Origin: England
OH: 3 3/4"; OW: 4 3/4"
Silk, linen canvas, metallic threads, pearls, wooden tassels
Gift of Anonymous Donors
Acc. No. 1971-1465
Small rectangular drawstring bag of canvaswork in silk, silver, and silver gilt metallic threads on linen canvas, with covered wooden tassels at the ends of drawstrings and hanging from loops at the lower corners and center bottom. Each side of the purse has an embroidered design consisting of six colored silk blossoms or fruit inside gilt coiling stems, set against a worked silver ground. On one side the flowers and berries have seed pearls at their centers. The drawstring is made of plaited silk and metallic cord with two tassles. Lined with very pale greenish-blue silk.
Stitches: counted slanted satin, plaited braid, tent.
Label:Richly embellished bags were used for a variety of purposes. Some held a small Bible or prayer book. Some were used to present gifts of money, not unlike paper gift bags or cards today. Yet others held sweet-scented powders to scent clothing or one's person. For this reason, they were sometimes called "sweet bags."
Provenance:Ex Coll: Tomlinson, Mrs. DeWitt Clinton Cohen, Percival Griffiths.