Ethnic1pagesMystery bag

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The Mystery Bag (scroll down for more information)

<img border="0" src="../../ETHNIC/mysterybaghints/FANCYBAG.JPG" width="402" height="432">

A couple of years ago I posted the following question: "Does anybody have a clue where this bag is from?  I bought it and have no idea whence it originates. It is about 7" x 9", apparently of cotton, with metal beads, metal lace & sequins.  Please <a href="">let me know</a> if you can identify it. "   I continue to receive an amazing diversity of replies, so I'm I'm feeling far less like an idiot than I did when I first had to post the question.  I'm not sure who to believe (somewhere in the swath between Afghanistan and Turkey sounds likely, on the other hand it also somewhat resembles a bunch of supposedly Moroccan bags I bought from an ex hippy at a garage sale...)  I continue to be interested in people's guesses, and would be delighted if anyone has pictures of a similar bag.  In all events, it is truly earning the name "The Mystery Bag".  

See below to read some of the guesses people have made so far:

hey there! I just visited your site and found out that u were wondering where these handcraft are from. I was born in Burma and lived there all of my life. And I am 100% sure that , they are from Burma. You might get these stuffs from Thailand coz most of handcraft are sent to Thailand. Burma doesn't have any international business. So send to Thailand is the only way to export,

It looks like it is from Turkey. That is my guess.

Some bags here look similar: <a HREF="" ADD_DATE="1005742964" LAST_VISIT="1005742986" LAST_MODIFIED="1005742944">Tribal Bags at TribalMax</a>

My family has a bag that is similar....My great grandparents are from the Isle of Rhodes with their parents from Turkey. I believe it is from Turkey  with Persian roots!  Hope this helps!  :) 

Morocco I expect.

I believe that it was made by Afghani women. The fuchsia color and the fringe lead me to think this.

I am no expert. The bag you showed pictured on a web page resembles one I purchased from the Hmong Hilltribe people in northwest Thailand near the border with MyanMar (Burma). Both the tassels and the sequins are characteristic of that area (note the dull metal sequins on kalagas). 

Hi! I am the "no expert" who first answered your mystery bag plea for ideas. In fact I bought two bags from the Hmong people. They are of recent origin, made to sell to tourists for 50 baht (about $2.00 at the time, I believe, maybe less). I just got a digital camera, and I also just stumbled onto your page again, seeing the subsequent opinions and your plea for pictures. So, I draped the two bags next to my antique and very valuable kalaga purchased on the same trip, and took some shots for you (see attachments). 

<a href="../mysterybaghints/MVC-005F.JPG"> <img border="2" src="../mysterybaghints/MVC-005F_small.JPG" alt="MVC-005F.JPG (38888 bytes)" width="133" height="100"></a> <a href="../mysterybaghints/MVC-001F.JPG"> <img border="2" src="../mysterybaghints/MVC-001F_small.JPG" alt="MVC-001F.JPG (88391 bytes)" width="133" height="100"></a> <a href="../mysterybaghints/MVC-007F.JPG"> <img border="2" src="../mysterybaghints/MVC-007F_small.JPG" alt="MVC-007F.JPG (56417 bytes)" width="133" height="100"></a> <a href="../mysterybaghints/MVC-003F.JPG"> <img border="2" src="../mysterybaghints/MVC-003F_small.JPG" alt="MVC-003F.JPG (98674 bytes)" width="133" height="100"></a> 

Maybe a Kazak tent bag? It has some of the same characteristics and
including the horned design. There are also some kazak appliqu�d rugs that
have similar designs.

I would say that is about right if it is from Thailand. it kinda looks 
Tibetan though too

I believe it is from India

I would say Guatemala or Mexico. 

IT is from Burma probably from hills tribe and it was sent to Thailand

I am from Turkey and your bag resembles Heybe which are traditional bags
that are meant to hold the Kuran but are often used as household
decoration or even as a fashion accessory today. I have seen Heybe made
of many different textiles...some are made of carpet, some of
traditional Turkish killim or woven wool carpet, they can also be
knitted or made of printed fabric. It looks like it may also have some
silver metal embellishment, which is characteristic of Turkish artworks.


It looks Chinese to me but not the colors.
Maybe from tribal peoples in one of the
countries bordering China.

I am sure this bag origins from somewhere in India, maybe Poona because
the colors and the style look a lot like out - don't you think so?

Hi there. I am researching the history of the pocket for my design thesis in
university now, and I have seen this pouch tradition started in the
Palestine region, during the 500-1000 AD. they used to be called “amonieres
sarrasimoises,” or Saracen almsbags. but today they are made all the time in
Turkey for casual wear.

This bag also resembles bags from Dalecarlia in Sweden, but they do not have silver ribbons and pearls as far as I know. I think
those bags were quite common in Europe during first part av the 19th century.

I also am no expert, but have been interested in Middle Eastern costuming for 20 years. It bears some resemblance to Baruch Afghani work, a nomadic tribe that resides in southwest Afghanistan on the edge of the Dasht-i-Margo (Desert of Death). The embroidery is pretty typical of Middle Eastern patterns that I've seen, from Palestine to Afghanistan. What makes me think that it is Afghani is that it appears to be made of a once-larger piece of embroidered silk (often from an old bodice cut out from a treasured dress that could no longer be repaired) with tassels added for decoration. The tassels are the most strongly Afghani thing about it. I have a fan from Afghanistan which is cut in a semi-circular
piece from a once-larger garment (see comment above) whose handle is a straight carved piece of wood, which has tassels (very similar to the ones on your bag) all along the semi-circular edge. Little items like a bag or fan or what-have-you are often made from dresses that can no longer be repaired, or whose bodice embroidery starts looking pretty ratty, but the rest of the dress can still be put to good use. Little things like that can travel, being traded hand to hand, from Turkey to Pakistan. I think that accounts for the wide similarity of embroidery patterns throughout the Middle East. Like I said, I'm no expert, but that's my best guess. 

I'm guessing that it's oriental. It could be either Indian or Thai.

I agree with the Asian/Middle Eastern origin - it is very reminiscent of
items from Baluchistan, near where I grew up. That sort of embroidery and
silver decoration is very common across the area, into Afghanistan and
across even into Eastern Europe. I doubt you will ever find out where it
really came from.

I think it is "Hencho en Mexico"

My husband deals in textiles from Afghanistan, and is certain that it was made there. We have some examples of small Persian bags made to carry prayer stones that we could send you pictures of if you are interested.  We share your fascination with ethnic textiles and would love to correspond with you. We recently
purchased an Afghani nomad's dress from the mid 1800's and would be very interested in what you may have to say.

The bag appears to be a classic Hmong (Thai hilltribe) purse, from the appearance, dimensions, the apparent "dok" weave, and even the sequins and tassels. However, for it to be made of cotton, if it is Hmong, would be unusual. Perhaps it is a coarse silk or some type of flax (linen).

I also got this bag <a href="../../tara/portfolio/portfolioscans2/bag2.jpg"> <img border="2" src="../../tara/portfolio/portfolioscans2/bag2_small.jpg" alt="bag2.jpg (228957 bytes)" width="156" height="125"></a> from the same garage sale, and have no idea where it originates either.

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This Page is part of The Costumer's Manifesto, originally founded by Tara Maginnis, Ph.D. from 1996-2014, now flying free as a wiki for all to edit and contribute. Site maintained, hosted, and wikified by Andrew Kahn. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License; additional terms may apply. See Terms of Use for details. You may print out any of these pages for non-profit educational use such as school papers, teacher handouts, or wall displays. You may link to any page in this site.