new purse project: starting

So excited. I ordered yet another purse frame, this one is perfect in shape. Except it’s all holes. But this means I can use it as a base and use that super mega solid (and sticks to metal) knead-it to make the shape I want. And then it can be used for casting if anyone is interested in a) doing the casting in metal and letting me know what kind of mold is needed b) anyone interested in a cast so that I can pass the mold on to someone who can make more copies.

I couuuuuld potentially park out at a makerspace and do the casting myself in pewter. I thiiink I could do that safely. I miiiight be able to park at a makerspace and trade for someone else doing the mega hot metal stuff.

But the frame is almost bang on for shape and size. And I think that is the cheapie metal you can super easily file cut down as well. Will need to do so.


There is a Cranach painting where the purse has a gold tone. so YAY! Shhhhh, this is an allegorical painting but Cranach is very well known for basically painting princesses over and over again. His workshop probably produced more of that genre than any other. 

Note my wonderful pink coat at the lower edge there. Yes I take photos of books then promptly lose them in my various folders. Currently trying to get all my files organised. Super tough.

new purse project: inspiration part 3

So I finally managed to organise all the Aldegrever prints (there are three sets of dancers.)

Aldegrever was active in Soest which technically makes him in the Nordrhein-Westfalen area. Which is great as some of the features seem to support the use of Weiditz as there is a very strong Saxon feeling with headgear that is more of a blend between Saxony and NRW.

So three different types are present.

The first three are drawn with the ties drawn right up to the belt (gurdel). Then there are two that are drawn but have a separate tie to the gurdel (might be a circular frame? There is an extant purse with what looks like a soft frame.) And finally an arch frame purse that has hardware to attach it to the gurdel.

Brilliant! I can happily make an arch frame after all. But I may also make a circular/loop style as well while I figure out a way to really get the purseframe of my dreams.

I do have a knife case and set of mother of pearl handled knife and fork. I want to upgrade that as well as I used very recognisable filligree brass pieces to decorate the case! 

new purse project: inspiration part 2

So now I need to think about the body of the purse. To see if there is a limit to the materials or the colour, or the kinds of compartments.

The first of the following frames all seem to have the same style of arch. 

Archivnummer: 016173; Persistent Link 016173; Bildthema: Gürteltasche; Datierung: 1400-1500; Material: Leder , Metall; Technik: Lederarbeit , Schmiedearbeit; Objektart: Gürteltasche; Standort: Kempten, Bayern, Deutschland; Institution: Diakonisches Werk und Stadtarchäologie, 16262

This purse seems to have two main compartments and the front facing one has an additional gathered pocket the full width of the bottom half (below the hinges.)

Nurnberg GNM, beuteltashe mit eisenbugel, 1501-1600

This again has a fill width pocket across the front but this looks like it has two gathered circular openings towards the middle. There are several of the button-rosette decorations on this one, on both the body of the pouches and on the end of one tie. There may have been more on other ties.

Frauentasche middle 16thC. 

This one is interesting as it has that series of stitches in the flat area within the frame. It also has three circular pockets on the front. These are quite distinctive and can be seen better on a couple of loop frame purses. It also has little rosette-buttons.

Behältnisse für Kostbares 1500-1700, published in 2005.

Beautiful condition! With the button-rosettes and decorative stitching across the flat section within the frame.

Germanisches National Museum. 1501-1600. GNM T 4219

This purse has extra compartments on the inside but the outside has some fine line details. This kind of parallel lines are seen on both leather and textile purses.

Germanishes National Museum, 1501-1600 MNM T 2533

No external pockets, but at least two hanging compartments one rounded and with a strip to widen front to back the other flat and squared.

More rosettes.

Behältnisse für Kostbares 1500-1700, published in 2005.

Lots of great images for the closing mechanism! Also two pouches on the reverse, a different shape. I suspect that the suppleness of the leather is a very important factor in these and other shaped pockets.

Goat’s leather belt pouch with iron frame and 18 pockets, some behind secret closures, France, 16th c.
“As a status symbol for an aristocratic gentleman, this buckle bag with its 18 secret compartments was worn attached to the belt.”

18 compartments! Okay so obviously i now need to find some books.

Now that I have looked at the standing frame types on to the hanging loop type frames.

new purse project: inspiration part 1

I think my collection of purses might have gone missing. Regardless of status, missing/misplaced, I need to replace them for purpose.

And so off to the bildindex, the google, the pinterest (actually pretty good if you can reverse image search after) and I realised.

There are multiple extant variations of a particular frame. A frame I am now obsessed with. They do vary a bit, some have belt hooks, some have a loop to hang from. They are also used in conjunction with the hanging loop frames.

They all appear to be iron, as all the frames of this era, though at least one is tinned, so they probably were quite vibrant originally. 2488 A Renaissance belt pouch (money pouch), Nuremberg, circa 1600

Of interest is the view of the top of the arch showing a little of how the fastening works. on our left in this image there is a spring action closure and to our right what looks to be a turn- or it could be a dummy? But the small square on the opposite frame lines up so it could be a very short turn latech? But two different forms of closure would help keep this secure. It reminds me of the bottom of a laptop- one side can be slid open and the other is a spring that has to be held for the full length of time as you open.

Sadly I don’t have over 3K euro to buy one so let’s continue online window shopping.

The Museum of Bags and Purses
Posted on December 26, 2012 by Stacey Bewkes

I swear this looks like the body is replaced but look at those decorations, I’ll come back to that.

The Metropolitan has three of these frames! Dated quite widely.

Purse frame; Date:16th century; Culture:German, Nuremberg; Medium:Steel; Dimensions:Overall (open): 5 3/4 × 5 1/4 in. (14.6 × 13.3 cm); Classification:Metalwork-Steel; Credit Line:Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1957; Accession Number:57.137.17

Purse; Date:early 17th century; Culture:European; Medium:iron, linen, silk, metal, paper; Credit Line:Gift of Catharine Oglesby, 1959; Accession Number:C.I.59.30.3

Purse; Date:16th century; Culture:probably German; Medium:silk, iron; Credit Line:Anonymous Gift, 1986; Accession Number:1986.537.1

Germanisches National Museum. From Bildindex but I’m having trouble with both versions of the site.

Jaktvästa, LRK 997; Date mid 17th century; Medium chamois leather (Färg: gul, material: sämskskinn) – steel – silk – silk; Färg: grön,ljusblå, material: silke) – velvet – leather; Dimensions; Weight: 1,120 g (39.50 oz); Length: 470 mm (18.50 ″); Width: 425 mm (16.73 ″); Collection; Royal Armoury Blue pencil.svg wikidata:Q1636176

I limited to this particular lion head frame but I am looking at other framed purses to see what kind of compartments to add. There are a few extraordinary hanging loop frames in pristine condition to use. And there are other square and arch frames to look at.

The next post will be about the decorations and pouches as seen on the Purse Museum example.

persistence pays off

In other words I am back in my own storage of research. I found another example of the technique I was after so hooray! But also found the image of half length shirts I am using as an inspiration for my own kit.

Linen now costs a heck of a lot and it’s also a heck of a lot hotter where I live. So reducing layers of gathered fabric around the body is going to have this double effect of being able to save money and reduce heat.

I also found a bundle of images of women in sleeveless linen garments that are fitted through the body. They were not my research so I want to try and find the source of them before putting them in my own. With the Lemberg finds, the chemise in Koehler and the Poysdorf finds (the one with the half length shirts) I think we can justify this sort of arrangement a lot more now than ever before. And that’s fantastic. The artwork was telling us this, but now we have enough information to back it up.

I also found photos of the cutie frog needle case again 🙂 And a pattern for a pineapple purse. Both of which I very much want to recreate.

side detour

It turns out my miracle skin powder is no longer made. It was basically talc with vitamin C (MAP) and a little anti-inflammatory and zinc oxide as a UV block. I mixed it into my moisturiser.

Given I need sunblock (hello high UV index in New Zealand) and I can’t use any of the sunblocks on the market- none, nada, I have spent too much to learn this- this was really important.

But it looks like I can get the main products separately and can make my own. I can’t get the powdered liquorice root extract but I think I at least test the liquid. 

I think it’s about 15% Vit C to talc. 

research snag

Well I did find the image that started my journey of really trying to understand the specifics of the Nordrheine clothing text and of course it is a one off. There is one image, it has no catalogue number and a day of searching the museum website brings up nothing. Nothing in books, nothing anywhere.

I really need to know the specific techniques used. I know the basics but the specifics don’t seem to translate well. though if it does, then that is remarkable too. 

I have been looking for extant items that use techniques seen in portraits to see if I can find them in texts. It does help. I’ve already started looking into river pearl production (there is an effort to restock those mussels which is exciting.)

This has also meant I am looking for the best resolution images to see these painted details to then help in “reading” lower quality images.

I spent the better part of my research “career” with low resolution images. Very low. ANd often in black and white and even the best images often hid fabric weaves (monochrome damask especially.)

What it meant for me was I learnt to look for certain tells and I got very good at it in part because I was an avid collector of patterns from the age of about 14. I had memorised Patterns of Fashion by my late teens anyway. So that meant by the time I got into the specific time and place of the renaissance North I knew how pattern shapes presented in art work taking into account fabri types.

Anyway. Now I have a fair bit of text to backup my interpretation of what is going on in artwork. But I need more. The Koelner haus inventory is fantastic, it has been transcribed twice. The 1957 one I need to get hold of as it seems to include all the spelling variances. I think the 1884 transcription has been tidied to the point that some of the text may no longer be as useful as it should.

But I can at least rest assured that my difficulties are not down to my skill, but is entirely a lack of information for the 16th century. There is a wonderful understanding right up until 1500. And then there is a big gap until the 1570s.


I finally decided to just self host my research! There are many reasons but primarily I wanted to be able to get this information actually out there, so that i can use it too!

There are ways to cite a website for scholarly research, and so I am hoping that this time credit will come back! 

I have a few clothing ordinances to upload as well as a page on guilds and what they were responsible for. Even an amazing inventory that supports a theory I have, but I need more information to put it in context- it may be a coincidence after all.

I also have uploaded the contents of two inventories:

One more day, maybe today

Until I publish the Nordrhein information. I just need to add a glossary of fabric and colours, and also tidy the information about jewelry.

I am going to have a rest though as I will not sleep if I leave this until tomorrow actually.

So to the WHo.

so close

Yesterday I created a new spreadsheet of information as I realised that the Nordrhein is indeed different to Westfalen and Oestfalen. In quite remarkable ways.

I also spent time with the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) and realised that yes a pattern I saw is real. I’m still trying to use it to build an easy guide.

But today I want to get my own research into the spreadsheet as I worked out recently that yes I have a few independent resources.

I have also already copied an inventory and it’s on my site- private- until I get this big survey of information up. But my aim is the end of this week.