A MEDIEVAL WOMAN'S LIFE - AT HOME
- BIRTHS - WEDDINGS - DIVORCE - DEATHS - MANNERS - EDUCATION - EMPLOYMENT
CLOTHES - ITEMS OF CLOTHING - DRESS ACCESSORIES FABRICS & SEWING BEAUTY, HEALTH & HYGIENE MY TALKS MY SEWING MY ARTIFACTS BIBLIOGRAPHY LINKS
Medieval Purses, Pouches, Aumonieres & Bags
STYLES - FABRICS - DECORATION
were unknown in medieval clothing, therefore purses and pouches of various
kinds were widely utilised by all people of all classes. Purses were
small cloth purses also known as aumonieres or alms purses.
Ladies styles of fabric bag varied a little but generally were either square or rectangular with two drawstrings across the top, running horizontally one in each direction, with or without tassels, some having a rounded top. The example at left above is dated between 1400-1600 from the British Isles. Image from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It shows the typical drawstrings with tassels closure at the top. It attaches to the belt by the means of two loops at the very top. Shown at right is a similar style of fabric bag with drawstring and tassels dated between 1276 and 1300.
men and women utilised the small, drawstring pouch or aumoniere
pouch for the keeping of alms. These might be attached to the belt by
the use of a belt hook, a purpose made attachment on the belt, or simply
Another style of 15th century purse, featuring an iron metal framework is pictured at right. It is from western Europe and made from silk velvet. It is certain that because of the expensive metalwork and fabric, that it did not belong to a commoner.
Margherita Datini's 1397 personal effects list includes two purses described as embroidered wool. It is not specified whether the purses were made of wool and embroidered with perhaps silks and gold threads or whether they were made of woolen cloth and embroidered also with wool.
The sample at right appears to be gold couched embroidery and split stitch on gold silk. The man and the woman are human above the waist indicating their courtly and proper halves whist below the waist they are depicted as animals symbolising their bestial passions which come from their nether regions below. It is dated at the mid 14th century and is of French origin.
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