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Purse

Accession Number
2000/2.88

Title
Purse

Artist(s)

Object Creation Date
circa 1890-1920

Medium & Support
brass, beads, and leather

Dimensions
13 3/8 in x 6 1/8 in x 1 3/4 in (33.97 cm x 15.56 cm x 4.45 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Dr. James and Vivian Curtis

Subject matter
This object listed as made by Kirdi peoples, while most likely correct, is not without issue. “Kirdi”, meaning pagan, was the label given to the various peoples from northern Cameroon, northeastern Nigeria, and southern Chad by neighboring Fulani and Kanuri peoples because they did not practice Islam, while the latter do. The people collectively known as “Kirdi” are actually many different cultural groups with their own customs. However, due to a lack of information on where exactly this object came from, it is not possible to say with certainty which group of people created it.
While the use of this purse is not clear, it is possible, since it was made of brass, that it was a prestige item. 

References Cited:
Gebauer, Paul. 1979. Art of Cameroon. Portland, Or.: Portland Art Museum.
Lembezat, Bertrand. 1961. Les populations païennes du Nord-Cameroun et de l'Adamaoua. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.
Lembezat, Bertrand. 1952. Mukulehe; un clan montagnard du Nord-Cameroun; coutumes, rites, croyances. Paris: Berger-Levrault.
Northern, Tamara. 1984. The Art of Cameroon. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution.
Page, Donna. 2007. A Cameroon World. New York: QCC Art Gallery Press.

Physical Description
An oval-shaped brass purse with loops around the outside edge. Attached to each loop is a string of beads or leather ending in a brass crotal bell. The body of the purse has raised ovals with a spiral pattern inside. The lid has a brass handle and a longer beaded strap. 

Primary Object Classification
Costume and Costume Accessories

Primary Object Type
purse

Collection Area
African

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
beads
bell
social status
symbols of office or status
wealth

1 Related Resource

Visual Cultures of Islam- Textiles 
(Part of: Visual Cultures of Islam )

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved