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Shoulder bag

  • Place of origin:

    Shan (made)

  • Date:

    1st quarter 20th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Brocaded cotton in coloured silks and threads, silvered paper wound round cotton, coix-seeds

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Miss Phyllis Potts

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Shoulder bag of hand-loomed brocaded cotton with silver threads, coloured silks, coix-seeds and trailing tassels.

Formed from one length of cloth folded in half, with the fold forming the pocket of the bag, and stitched to a second length forming the sides extending to the carrying strap and fringe. Black ground with horizontal rows of magenta, green and yellow spots on a silver ground. The meeting of these lengths is over-bound with red silk thread and edged with a double ridge of coix-seeds. At the edges of the bag, on each side, are four stars of the seeds, and a double row of them edge the two bottom tassels. The length forming the sides, carrying strap and tassels has an orange stripe woven through it.

Place of Origin

Shan (made)


1st quarter 20th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Brocaded cotton in coloured silks and threads, silvered paper wound round cotton, coix-seeds


Length: 25.5 cm, Width: 22.5 cm, Length: 62 cm carrying-strap, Length: 31 cm tassels

Object history note

Possibly bought by the donor's father while he was serving in Burma before the 1914-1918 war.

Historical context note

Woven by people of the South Shan States on a native handloom. The sumptuousness of this article suggest that it may have originally been intended for a member of a Sawbwa's (shan prince's) family.

From the mid 18th century the Shan states (an area which forms the eastern region of Burma) were semi-autonomous. The states were ruled by princes who paid tribute to the Burmese kings of the Konbaung Dynasty (1752-1885). Under British rule (1885-1948) they continued to have a degree of independance

For further examples of similarly fine bags see VA IM 328-1924 and Innes Costumes of Upper Burma and the Shan States; Halifax Museums 1957; p.11;Fig. 11; GS 32 & 33 & 57

Descriptive line

Shoulder bag of brocaded cotton with silver threads, Shan, 1st quarter of 20th century

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Innes "Costumes of Upper Burma and teh Shan States", Halifax, 1957, p.11, Fig. 11


Cotton; Silvered paper thread; Job's tears; Silk; Dye


Brocading; Paper-making; Embroidering; Metal-working; Dyeing


Textiles; Accessories


South & South East Asia Collection

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