A beautiful handbag is timeless, and it’s for this reason that we love stylish and iconic vintage handbags just as much as we adore the latest styles, like those designer-inspired handbags we offer here at Pomeus.com.
“Vintage” to most of us means a handbag we’ve inherited from our mother or, found in an antique store, or occasionally a well-preserved piece that was pre-loved by grandma. But there are some truly amazing and very vintage specimens in museums around the world, and the oldest known surviving medieval handbag is one of these.
This amazingly beautiful and well-preserved bag originated in Northern Iraq, in the city of Mosul. It is believed to date back no fewer than seven hundred years, with evidence suggesting it may have been created close to the year 1300 AD.
Made of intricately engraved brass, it looks remarkably like a modern evening clutch, and has rings on the sides to attach a strap. It is inlaid with gold and silver Islamic metalwork depictions of courtly life, and it was truly a luxury handbag and would have been treasured by its original owner.
The decorations show a noble couple surrounded by musicians, hunters, courtiers and revelers. The attendants wear Mongol costume and hats with feathers. The decorations are completed with an inscription of rhyme.
This remarkable ancient designer handbag was originally believed to be a saddlebag or a document wallet, but after much study it has been deemed to have been a woman’s handbag. It was, in all likelihood, custom designed and crafted for its original owner, who was obviously a lady of aristocratic birth if not royalty. It is one of a kind.
Then, like today, a gorgeous handbag was a symbol of beauty, status, and even power. A way to carry but hide the essentials of daily life, it was decorative and as important a part of a woman’s ensemble as the clothing she wore. The woman who owned and carried this bag was enviable – just as we envy those today whose handbags stand out from the crowd for all of the right reasons.