Purse (Spain), late 17th century
This is a Purse. It is dated late 17th century and we acquired it in 1950. Its medium is silk and metallic embroidery, silk foundation and lining, linen backing and its technique is embroidered on satin weave. It is a part of the Textiles department.
This striking purse of dark green satin embroidered with gold and silver threads has on one side the “Pelican in her Piety,” an allegorical Christian symbol of self-sacrifice whose usage dates to the medieval period in Europe. A popular motif, the “Pious Pelican” also served as a heraldic device that aristocratic classes adopted as a symbol of parental solicitude. The pelican plucks at her breast to draw the blood that will feed her young. Curling toward the pelican from the four corners is a Bishop’s crosier or staff, suggesting ecclesiastical usage. On the reverse is a pitcher with lilies and thistles: the lily, a symbol of chastity, innocence and purity, and the thistle, a symbol of earthly sorrow and sin.
It is credited
Museum purchase through gift of Commander Henry H. Gorringe.
Its dimensions are
H x W x D: 25.4 × 20.3 cm (10 × 8 in.)
Cite this object as
Purse (Spain), late 17th century; silk and metallic embroidery, silk foundation and lining, linen backing; H x W x D: 25.4 × 20.3 cm (10 × 8 in.); Museum purchase through gift of Commander Henry H. Gorringe; 1950-115-3