Woman’s bag
Cotton (homespun), silk velvet, paper (? – base lining)
Stenciled (cotton)

The exterior of this bag is made of what the Japanese call sarasa, or printed cotton. Originally, sarasa was imported from such places as India and Indonesia, which had a very highly developed export cotton market. In time, however, the Japanese were able to make excellent copies of sarasa domestically.

The interior of the bag is lined in silk velvet, most of which has worn away. Both the sarasa and the velvet were considered luxury materials. The two elegantly carved toggles are most likely made of bone (antler?), rather than elephant ivory. Around the center of the bag is a clear horizontal line where the stencil ended and began again.

This bag may have been made by the wearer. The eyelets seem to have been made simply by creating holes in the fabric, which have not been reinforced.

The bag also appears to have been worn with no edging around the base to finish it. In the photo below, where the side has been sewn to the base, the original velvet pile can be seen clearly. The base probably stays flat with the help of stiff paper between the inner and outer layers.

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