Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

x0x Ottoman Purses

Expand Messages
  • Turkish Culture List
    [See more on this subject by visiting the pages selected for you by Anita Donohoe: http://turkradio.us/k/kese/ ] x0x Ottoman Purses By SABIHA TANSUG Purses
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 30, 2008
      [See more on this subject by visiting the pages
      selected for you by Anita Donohoe:
      http://turkradio.us/k/kese/ ]

      x0x Ottoman Purses


      Purses were an object both functional and
      beautiful in Ottoman culture, made of satin, lace
      or silk, and sometimes tasselled...

      Man, an element of nature, alive, dynamic and who
      from the dawn of history has been living in an
      active environment, has ingeniously invented
      thousands of ways to make and embellish clothing
      and other functional objects, by drawing,
      painting, carving, weaving, embroidering or
      knitting. Their designs have reflected what people
      saw, heard, and felt, and they have attached all
      kinds of emotional and artistic meanings to their
      lives. The tiny purses of the Ottoman period that
      are our topic here are also a product of this
      creative activity.


      Purses used for carrying coins used in Ottoman
      times were in the form of pouches closed by
      drawstrings. Even tinier ones were also made for
      holding seals and circular ones for watches, so
      forming sets set of three. Likewise a tobacco
      pouch was made for cigarette smokers. Men always
      carried these pouches about with them. The money
      and tobacco pouches were usually carried under the
      sash they tied around their waists or in their
      pockets. Slender young men tied the strings of
      their leather tobacco pouches around their wrists,
      and their seal pouches around their necks on a
      thin cord. The watch pouch was hung on a metal
      chain around the neck and placed in the pocket or
      in the sash.

      This silver or gold chain and the watch in the
      pouch constituted a man's jewelry. This way purses
      and pouches with a functional role were at the
      same time ornamental. These beautifully crafted
      ornaments were like tokens of a woman's skill,
      belief, tradition and the love she felt for her
      man. It was as if these tiny purses embellished
      with colorful patterns stressed the importance of
      the artistic and spiritual as opposed to the
      material wealth and power represented by money,
      seal and watch. Every time a person used their
      purse or pouch they enjoyed the feeling of both
      the material and the art.


      A purse was not only the drawstring bag in which
      money was kept, but also a monetary unit between
      1500 and 1600. And since time immemorial in
      Anatolia, during and before Ottoman times, there
      was the so called `tradesman's purse;' six
      separate purses, serving as a relief fund for
      tradesmen: the Satin Purse, Green Purse, Knitted
      Purse, Red Purse, White Purse and Black Purse.
      Each of these purses or funds had different roles
      regarding receiving, giving and helping, and
      included not only silver and gold coins, but also
      documents. These little pouches that conveyed such
      delightful sentiments about life are sadly now a
      thing of the past. Tortoise, bird, eagle and cock
      figures; plants, branches, leaves, seeds, flowers
      of all colors, crescents and stars, lines, waves,
      patterns, threads, sequins, beads, lines of
      poetry, the imperial monogram... all these and
      many other motifs make a feast of visual art in
      which nature is given new interpretations by human
      creativity. Often these purses were made of
      colorful silk or cotton thread worked using
      crochet hook, knitting needles or lace needle. The
      top and bottom edges and ends of the drawstrings
      were further decorated with needlepoint lace in a
      myriad beautiful flower motifs, such as daisies,
      morning glory, roses or carnations, and tiny
      colored tassels were tied on. The tips of pouches
      often ended in a so-called almond motif, there
      were two borders around the opening. The upper
      class sometimes used precious purses made with
      gold and silver thread, and among the smartest
      purses were those made of satin or patterned silk.
      Men and women from cities as well as villages also
      liked to use colourful beaded and sparkling


      Of all these varieties, purses made of needle lace
      are examples of quite exceptional elegance. Brides
      and young ladies used lace purses, stylish and
      dressy, hanging them from their sashes and belts.

      These purses were also given to girls in the
      family as presents for their dowries when they
      married, and proudly displayed like works of art,
      as indeed they were. Gold coins were put in the
      tiny needlepoint baby's garments, pillow or
      cradle. Traditionally pink purses were made for
      baby girls and blue or red ones for baby boys.

      Purses containing silver or gold coins were also
      presented to bridegrooms at wedding feasts both in
      the cities and the villages, and these were very
      ornate and showy. Among the upper classes in the
      cities these were made of red satin and
      embroidered with gold and silver thread in motifs
      such as a star and crescent, imperial monogram, or
      flowers, branches and knots, which were all
      symbols of best wishes. Pouches given to middle
      class bridegrooms were usually made from green
      broadcloth and decorated with floral motifs
      embroidered with colorful chain stitches in silk
      thread to create a meadow design. The meadow was a
      symbol of love, affection and happiness. The
      purses of village bridegrooms were made of black
      cloth and decorated with sequins and beads. At the
      opening was an eagle motif, and the sides were
      decorated with needle lace. They were strewn with
      dried carnations and given as presents during the
      wedding, the dried carnations infusing the purse
      with their scent. The eagle motif was a symbolic
      way of wishing the bridegroom strength and wealth.


      The purses and pouches that had been in use for
      hundreds of years disappeared from people's lives
      in the 20th century, even in rural areas. The
      reason for this was that as the number of
      banknotes multiplied, wallets replaced purses.
      However, although the purses themselves have gone,
      their memory survives vividly in the idioms of our
      language: `Abundance to your purse' as an
      expression of good wishes, `speak if your purse is
      full' meaning he who has the money has the say,
      `he looks to fill his purse' for a moneygrubber,
      `his purse and basket are empty' for you only get
      out of life what you put into it, `let the pouch
      see the opening' for let your purse be your
      master, `don't squander your purse,' `when it
      flows, fill your purse' for make hay while the sun
      shines, a scorpion in the purse,' `the bottom of
      the purse can be seen' for running out of money,
      and all the rest... The gold and silver purses of
      fairy tales still have the power to spark our
      imagination... Dreaming about a purse is according
      to interpreters of dreams a sign that you will
      earn a lot of money from successful business.
      Dreaming about a full purse is interpreted to mean
      that you will live comfortably and in wealth until
      the end of your life. Don't underestimate the
      purse... Can the purses we have talked about here
      not be compared to the chic evening bags that we
      use nowadays? They too are fascinating examples of
      handicrafts wrought by women, part of a culture
      that has evolved over hundreds of years... The
      purses described are from Sabiha Tansug's

    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.