A Precious and Rare Stenciled Smoke Pattered Deerskin Bag: Nineteenth Century

$850.00 USD

mid nineteenth century
9" x 7", 23 cm x 18 cm

This is a first for this website--and it might be the only time that this particular kind of rare and desirable object is offered here.

It is a spectacular looking drawstring pouch that is made of deerskin which has been stenciled and smoked in order to create this alluring, crisscross pattern of two subtle tones of brown.

Its design of two-toned, diagonal stripes in opposing directions is the result of using masking stencils to direct smoke onto the deerskin in order to transfer decoration onto the leather. For the two toned effect it was said that pine needles were burned for the lighter tone while a combination of pine needles and rice straw were burned to impart a darker tone.

This elegant bag, of course, was owned by a person of great means, more than likely a wealthy male merchant. It is rigged with loops of bone or ivory through with a braided silk cord is drawn, in this case the drawstring does not appear to be original to the bag.

In its day, the Edo period (1603-1867), this accessory was obviously wildly luxurious and probably a detail to what must have been an otherwise remarkably lavish life lived by someone of great wealth and high status.

The soft deerskin used in the laborious hand-manufacture of this elegant accessory was more than likely imported from China or Southeast Asia: the exotic origin of this rare material only compounds the importance of this as a specialized, covetable object.

As some of you may be familiar there are well-known examples of boldly patterned leather fireman's coats.  Jackets of more subtle patterns such as seen on this bag were also made and they were not worn for fighting fires. They were worn by elegant, rich men who probably wanted to signal an air of ostentation.

On one side of this marvelous bag there is a coin-sized stain. The other side is clear and overall--aside from the stain--this is in tremendously well-preserved condition.

This is sometime wonderful to own, to be inspired by, to use, to admire or to display.

Highly recommended.