Overall (Frame): W. 6 3/8 in. (16.2 cm)
Overall (Bag): H.8 x W. 8 1/2 in. (20.3 x 21.6 cm)
The Cloisters Collection, 1955
Not on view
Purses of various shapes and sizes, carried by both men and women, were given descriptive terms in medieval inventories, such as bourse or poche à compartement. In the fifteenth century, purses with clasps of metal and loops on the rear which could be attached directly to the belt superseded the pouches which closed with drawstrings and hung from the belt. The clasp no doubt came into use to provide greater security for money or other valuables when the owner walked on crowded city streets.
This velvet bag has a double pouch with an opening in the front section that still uses the older drawstring closure. The iron frame at the top is decorated with acorns, human heads, and lizards, some of which move to release catches for opening that frame.
Sammuel James Whawell 1857–1926(?) ; Samuel Yellin, Philadelphia (until 1940) ; Estate of Samuel Yellin American, born Russia, 1884–1940, Philadelphia (1940–sold 1955)
New York. The Cloisters Museum & Gardens. "The Secular Spirit: Life and Art at the End of the Middle Ages," March 28, 1975–June 15, 1975.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Eighty-Fifth Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year 1954-1955." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 14, no. 1 (Summer 1955). p. 14.
Schrader, J. L., ed. The Waning Middle Ages, an Exhibition of French and Netherlandish Art from 1350-1500: Commemorating the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Publication of "The Waning of the Middle Ages" by Johan Huizinga. Lawrence, Kans.: University of Kansas Museum of Art, 1969. no. 117, pp. 90–91, pl. LXXIII.
Husband, Timothy B., and Jane Hayward, ed. The Secular Spirit: Life and Art at the End of the Middle Ages. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1975. no. 90b, p. 82.