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  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1660-1680 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silk thread, hand knotted and hand plaited

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Miss E. H. Fisher

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This bag is made from strands of square-knotted silk, a technique now called macramé. This type of knotting is thought to come from the Islamic world, introduced into Europe via the Arabs in Spain as a method of tying off the warp threads of a woven fabric. It was practiced in France and Italy from the 14th century for fringes and decorative borders for linen. Examples of this type of knotting dating from the 17th and 18th century survive in the V&A’s collections. It was given the name macramé, possibly deriving from the Arabic word miqram, meaning bedcover, in the 1860s with a revival of the craft. Macramé became popular again in the 1970s.

The square knots of the bag are very fine, requiring a magnifying glass to see them. Its open and delicate texture suggests that this tiny bag was probably intended to hold a keepsake rather than for everyday monetary use.

Physical description

Small, thimble-shaped purse of yellow and green silk. It is made from a mesh of double lines of yellow silk worked over a mould and gathered at the bottom into a short tassel. The lines are tightly over sewn with green silk in buttonhole stitch, except at the intersections where yellow silk is used. The latter is also used to over sew the thick strands at the bottom of the purse, where the threads are gathered into the tassel.

A plaited draw-string of yellow and green silk runs through the loops of the top edge.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


1660-1680 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Silk thread, hand knotted and hand plaited


Length: 9.5 cm approx., Width: 5.6 cm approx.

Descriptive line

Purse of knotted silk, Great Britain, 1660-1680.


Silk thread


Macrame; Plaiting


Fashion; Accessories


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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