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85/1075 Purse, silk taffeta / tapestry, maker unknown, Aleppo, Syria, 1795-1805. Click to enlarge.

A Syrian drawstring purse

Made in Halab, Halab governorate, Syria, Asia, c.1800.

The Museum has a long history of collecting textiles, costume and dress accessories such as bags, purses and reticules. Whether serving as a means of carrying valuables, or to complement an outfit aesthetically, purses and their history provide a fascinating insight into needs and fashions across various socio-cultural traditions. This purse has been made using slit tapestry weave. The word 'tapestry' refers to a particular weave structure as well as to the finished tapestry-woven product. Tapes...


Object No.


Object Statement

Purse, silk taffeta / tapestry, maker unknown, Aleppo, Syria, 1795-1805

Physical Description

Purse, silk taffeta / tapestry, maker unknown, Aleppo, Syria, 1795-1805

A draw string purse, small, constructed from two flat, shield shaped, tapestry pieces, and sewn together with cotton thread, creating a pointed base. The purse is left open at the top and gathered with a drawstring of gold coloured metallic thread. The bag features a mixed geometric and floral design in red, maroon, salmon pinks, olive green, blue and black on a neutral ground. There is a decorative border of crotched, gold coloured metallic thread, trimmed with sequins around the entire perimeter, a large tassel of the same material is attached to the border at the centre of the base, matching tassels are attached to either end of the drawstring. The purse is lined with peach taffeta.


No marks



205 mm


135 mm


30 mm



Made in Aleppo, Syria, c. 1800



Tapestry weave has a very long history. Thousands of years ago, the technique was developed independently by people in a number of places including Egypt, China and South America. Tapestry weaving may have been brought to Europe by the Moors, who crossed from Africa into Spain in 710AD, bringing Islamic weaving traditions with them.


Credit Line

Purchased 1985

Acquisition Date

2 July 1985

Cite this Object


A Syrian drawstring purse 2019, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 24 February 2020, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=A Syrian drawstring purse |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=24 February 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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