Accessories

Accessories

Jane Poulton (1957) is an English embroiderer who makes small items decorated with hand and machine embroidery. There is an example of her machine embroidery, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum (acc. no. T.162-1990). The design is called 'It's only me' and is added to a purse.

This illustration shows an example of an Egyptian appliqué Mamluk emblem that dates to the fifteenth or sixteenth centuries. Such emblems were used to show a man’s rank within the bureaucracy of the Mamluk empire. The emblem is made out of a yellow woven cloth with appliquéd mid-blue and light blue, red and white woollen cloth. Each of the devices is outlined in a couched, cotton cord.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art houses a badge (lizi) of the imperial prince, with dragon. It dates to the early seventeenth century, and is made of silk satin with silk and metal thread embroidery. It is 30 cm in diameter.

The British Museum in London houses a woman's waistband for a skirt, which is made of cotton and is decorated with embroidery. It is attributed to Banjaras from central India. The waistband measures 95 by 35 cm. The object was acquired in 1993.

Dance cards (carnets de bal) were popular, female accessories in nineteenth and early twentieth century Western society. They were used to list the number of dances and the names of the associated dance partners at a ball or party. A full card indicated a popular girl, an empty card represented a social disaster.

The Textile Research Centre (TRC), Leiden, houses a necklace from among the Turkmen in northeastern Iran. The object is made of cotton, glass, metal and plastic. The necklace measures 39 x 10 cm.

During the First World War (1914-1918), the American Commission For Relief in Belgium (CRB) was set up under the chairmanship of Herbert Hoover (1874-1964; he later became the 31st President of the USA). The aim of the commission was to provide food relief for war-torn Belgium. The CRB was eventually to ship millions of kilos of flour (but also other grains and sugar) to Belgium. These commodities were sent in cotton bags. 

Biscornu (biscournu) is the name for a small, eight-sided pin cushion that became popular in the first decade of the twenty-first century. The word biscornu is derived from the French adjective biscornu, meaning irregular, skewed or strange.

A blazon is an originally medieval term for a coat of arms. The word derives from the Old French blason for 'shield'. The term is used in heraldry for the formal description of a coat of arms, and for the design of a coat of arms itself. Blazons are displayed on a wide range of materials, notably glass, metal and stone. In addition, they are sometimes displayed in woven, appliqué and embroidered forms.

In the Royal Collection, London, UK, there is an example of an embroidered sabretache, which was a cavalry officer’s satchel. This style of sabretache is associated with the Light Dragoons, a British cavalry regiment. A sabretache is a flat pouch or satchel with long straps worn by some cavalry and horse artillery officers from the left of the waist belt near to the officer’s sabre.

The National Museums of Scotland house an early seventeenth century purse from Britain. It is made of white satin and decorated with petit point embroidery in coloured silks.

The Ethnologisches Museum in Berlin houses a cotton horse blanket (chabrak), acquired c. 1900 by Willi Rickmer Rickmers (1873-1965). It is decorated with embroidery and paillettes.

The British Museum in London houses a remarkable, decorated camel saddle cloth (acc. no. Af1947,15.4). It comes from Ethiopia and dates to the first half of the twentieth century. The ground cloth is 107 x 83 cm in size and is made from orange cotton with appliqué green leather strips.

The Ethnologisches Museum in Berlin houses an embroidered commemorative panel, issued to a German officer who left active service to become a reserve officer. The panel measures 49 x 36 cm. The machine embroidered texts are worked in wool, chenille and gold and silver thread.

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam houses the ship's flag of the Dutch navy steamer 'Medusa', given to the ship's crew by King Willem III in 1865 in recognition for their role in forcing the Straits of Shimonoseki during the international punitive expedition against the Prince of Nagato (Japan). The flag is in a bad condition. It measures 300 x 400 cm. It shows the Dutch flag (red-white/blue) and embroidered in silver thread the word 'Simonoseki'.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art houses a Kashmir shawl from Kashmir, India, which dates to about 1825-1850. It measures 142 x 300 cm and is made of, and embroidered with wool.

The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, has acquired a number of embroidered items that derive from Chitral, in the extreme north of modern Pakistan. The items date to before 1938.

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London houses a mid-nineteenth century Kashmir man's cloak, made of extremely fine wool and embroidered with silk using running stitches. It measures 60 x 295 cm. According to curatorial information, this cloak was made for the European market. The cloak shares certain features with the choga coat (such as the borders down the front), but also with European garments (the stiffened collar).

An embroidered linen parasol acquired in The Netherlands and dating to the early twentieth century is housed in the collection of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The parasol is light brown, and is decorated with cutwork and bouquets of tulips that are embroidered with floss silk in satin stitch. The parasol has a length of 95.2 cm.

During the Second World War (1939-1945), rationing was applied in the UK and other countries, for many essential items, including clothing, food, paper, petrol and soap. People were issued with a variety of ration cards/coupons (clothing coupons, butter coupons, etc). When something was purchased a set number of coupons were stamped in order to cancel them. Rationing in Britain was only officially stopped in 1954.

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