Seal Bag thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Seal Bag

1600-1699 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

Purses are associated with the lighter side of life in the sixteenth and seventeenth century, in particular with gambling and cards, which was enjoyed by both men and women. Gaming purses were specifically functional. Made with a circular, stiffened base, the gathered sides were formed from a narrow circle of cloth such as velvet, which released to form an open container for coins or gaming chips; many were monogrammed to ensure that taking were claimed by their rightful owners.

Object details

Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Silk, leather, pasteboard, silver; hand-woven velvet, hand-embroidered
Brief description
Seal bag of crimson silk velvet, 1600-1669, French; with silver embroidery, coat of arms
Physical description
Seal bag of crimson silk velvet, lined with leather. It circular in shape with a circular base reinforced with pasteboard; the sides pleated and pulled together with drawstrings of flat silk braid and 4 tassels covered with silver filé and silk thread. The sides and base are couched with silver filé over parchment. Embroidered on the base is a coat of arms showing hands clasped around a flaming torch, with 2 lions lying down below.
Dimensions
  • Height: 8.7cm (approx)
  • Base diameter: 17.5cm (approx)
Credit line
Given by Miss Harper
Summary
Purses are associated with the lighter side of life in the sixteenth and seventeenth century, in particular with gambling and cards, which was enjoyed by both men and women. Gaming purses were specifically functional. Made with a circular, stiffened base, the gathered sides were formed from a narrow circle of cloth such as velvet, which released to form an open container for coins or gaming chips; many were monogrammed to ensure that taking were claimed by their rightful owners.
Collection
Accession number
T.20-1939

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Record createdFebruary 25, 2003
Record URL
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