Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Purse

Date:
15th–16th century
Culture:
European
Medium:
Iron, leather
Dimensions:
Overall: 9 x 7 1/16 x 1 5/8 in. (22.9 x 17.9 x 4.1 cm) purse clasp only: 5 x 6 x 1 5/8 in. (12.7 x 15.2 x 4.1 cm)
Classification:
Metalwork-Iron
Credit Line:
The Cloisters Collection, 1952
Accession Number:
52.121.2
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the fifteenth century, purses with clasps of metal and loops on the rear which could be attached directly to the belt superseded the pouches which closed with drawstrings and hung from the belt.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 crowed city streets.

This purse has two inside pockets and a concealed smaller section with two small openings hidden beneath the front flat.
Samuel Yellin(ca. 1920s-1952)
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-Third Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year 1952." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 12, no. 1 (Summer 1953). p. 17.

Rorimer, James J. "Acquisitions for the Cloisters." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 11, no. 10 (June 1953). p. 280.

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. 90a, p. 82.

Kline, Naomi Reed, ed. Castles: An Enduring Fantasy. Gloucester, Mass.: Hammond Castle Museum, 1982. no. 13, pp. 13, 25.

Blanc, Monique. "L'Argent, le Pouvoir, l'Apparat: le Sac de Presige au Moyen Âge." In Le Cas du Sac: Histoires d'une Utopie Portrative, edited by Musée de la Mode et du Textile and Hermès. Paris: Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs, 2004.



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