Purse

Date: early 17th century

Culture: British

Medium: Canvas worked with silk and metal thread, glass beads, spangles; Gobelin, tent, and detached buttonhole stitches; silk cord and silk and metal thread tassels

Dimensions: Overall (excluding tassels and draw cord): 5 1/8 x 5 1/8 in. (13 x 13 cm)

Classification: Textiles-Embroidered

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, by exchange, 1929

Accession Number: 29.23.15

Description

Small decorative purses and bags such as this one rarely appear in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century portraits, but they have survived in relatively large numbers. This example, with its lively pattern of flowers, birds, and butterflies, was executed with a generous amount of gold and silver metal thread of very high quality, worked with polychrome silk threads to create subtly shaded colors.

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