Accessories

Accessories

Temari ('hand ball') balls form part of Japanese folk art. They seem to have originated in China and to have been introduced around the seventh century AD in Japan. They were originally made of strips of cloth, but over time they became more and more ornate, with decorative stitching replacing more functional stitching. In due course, temari showed the most intricate embroidery.

In mid-eighteenth century Northern Europe and North America, it was not uncommon for a small, circular shape of cloth (c. five cm in diameter), sometimes mounted on a piece of card, to be placed between a watch case and a pocket watch in order to protect the watch glass. At some point these cloth circles were embroidered. This was perhaps initially done by (female) members of the watch owner's family, and later by professional embroiderers.

Leather falcon hoods are used to cover the heads of falcons when they are being trained to hunt (see falconry) in the company of humans and to keep them focussed during a hunt. They are worn to help the bird acclimatise to human beings and to keep the bird in a calm state. It is said that the use of hoods was introduced into Europe, from the Middle East, during the Crusades.

An embroidered fire screen dated to around 1700 and originating from The Netherlands is housed in the collection of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The screen has a linen cloth that is embroidered on one side with multi-coloured wool, and on the other side printed with a putto motif. The screen itself measures 26 x 20 cm.

The Musée de Cluny in Paris houses a number of fragments of what probably was a horse trapper, produced in England in the early fourteenth century. Each of these fragments shows gold-coloured lions on a red velvet panel. The lions are surrounded by a multitude of small figures and imitation jewels.

Furoshiki (風呂敷) represent a form of traditional Japanese wrapping cloth. They may be made of various materials, including silk, cotton, or synthetics. They may be decorated with printed designs or embroidery. They vary in size from that of a handkerchief to that of a large bed-spread. Their popularity in modern Japan decreased after the Second World War, but recent initiatives try to revitalise this old tradition.

A gamester's purse that is embroidered with gold and silver thread and silk is housed in the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.  It was probably made in France and dates to the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. It measures 9.5 x 8.2 cm. The lining is made of goat leather.

An embroidered and black velvet gift cover (fukusa) from Japan, dating to the mid-nineteenth century, is housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. The embroidery is worked in silk and Japanese thread (gold-wrapped thread). The cover measures 76 x 67.1 cm.

Fragments are kept in the British Museum, London (acc. no. 1856,0819.1), of a linen bag decorated with appliqué and silk embroidery. They are all that is left of a Great Seal bag of King Henry III, who reigned in England from 1216 to 1272.

Hand ruffs are attached to the cuff of a shirt or chemise worn by both men and women. Hand ruffs were popular from about AD 1560 to 1650. They were often decorated using embroidery, lace and/or spangles, often in the same manner as the main ruff worn around the neck. During the sixteenth century the term ‘ruffles’ was regarded as synonymous with hand ruffs.

The Ethnologisches Museum in Berlin houses an embroidered holster for a handgun. It measures 24 x 15 cm and is made of cotton with multi-coloured embroidery, gold thread and applied pearls. One of the techniques used is the chain stitch.

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London houses a decorated huqqa mat (a mat on which a water pipe was placed) from India, perhaps from Delhi, and dating to about the third quarter of the nineteenth century.

An embroidered woollen Kashmir shawl dating to the (mid-) nineteenth century and probably produced in Kashmir is housed in the collection of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. It measures 137 x 126 cm. The embroidery is worked with a stem stitch.

ULITA, an Archive of International textiles, University of Leeds, houses a Kashmiri shawl (267 x 120 cm) from the nineteenth century that was owned by Mrs Emily Herklots (née Bazeley; 1873-1934). She was the wife of the Reverend Herklots (1873-1934), who was vicar of St Georges, near Leeds General Infirmary, and whose family had lived and worked in India since the seventeenth century.

In the seventeenth, and especially in the eighteenth centuries, knotting was a popular pastime for ladies. They would also sometimes walk around with a nice small bag with a drawstring, held from their wrist, that contained shuttle and thread, and braids in various stages of completion.

The British Museum in London houses a large rectangular shawl from Gujarat, western India. It is made of black silk and is embroidered with chain stitch, showing alternate bands of white-petalled and crimson-petalled flowers. In the centre is a densely embroidered star-shaped motif with shisha work. The shawl is edged with bands of crimson satin. The shawl measures 195 x 170 cm.

Illustrated here is an example of a leather Mamluk emblem that dates to the fifteenth century or slightly earlier. This particular example takes the form of a triple field shield with devices in the form of a diamond and two chalices.

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam recently acquired an embroidered letter pouch (acc. no. NG-2011-25) that belonged to the Dutch ambassador to Istanbul (Constantinople), Cornelis Calkoen (1696-1764).

The medieval Mamluk rulers (1250-1517) of Egypt developed a system of emblems to signify and identify the role of courtiers serving under the various sultans. Some of the emblems are very simple, others are complex. They were used to decorate a variety of different materials, such as glass, metal, paintings, stone, stucco, as well as textiles (appliqué, embroidered, woven forms).

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art houses a pair of man's ceremonial gauntlets from England, dating to the early seventeenth century. They are made of leather, with silk and metal thread embroidery. They are 36 cm long.

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