first quarter 20th century
10 1/2 x 17 1/2 in. (26.7 x 44.5 cm)
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of James J. Freeman, 1963
Not on view
Crocodile skins have long been prized as a durable material from which to make luggage and purses. In the early part of the 20th century, the rough spiny backs of the animals were frequently used, as well as the smoother ventral sides. Here the hide also covers the underside of the bag, a part of the object not intended to be seen, which illustrates a high level of refinement and quality. The ridges in high relief at the front of the bag are from the dorsal portion of the crocodile. The interior of the bag is fitted with numerous small pockets to hold jars, bottles and other necessities. While shape of this bag immediately brings to mind the traveling doctor making a round of house calls, the provenance of this particular example remains a mystery.
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