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Handbag

Handbag

Inv. Nr: CE2/00171

This 19th century handbag is made of crochet knitted silk and is a deep sky blue colour. Its shape is almost circular, and it closes at the top when a thread is passed through a semicircular metal clasp. A chain of oval links constitutes the bag’s handle.

The bag is decorated on both sides with a motif of ten stars and seven dots of stitched beads or very small metal beads. The decoration is completed with an adornment of rings and chains with small spheres hanging from all sides.

At the end of the 18th century, with the arrival of Empire style clothing, the handbag, as we know it today appeared. Before this date, bags were detached pockets, hung on clothes, or concealed in skirts. It was not possible to have a bag hanging from the waist in Empire dresses with the waist below the bust, thus they had to be hand held. In fact, a strap was added to the pocket to make small handbag, called a ‘reticule’ from the Latin reticulum. During the 19th century, handbags remained small, and were an important accessory of women’s clothing.

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