Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

beaded handbag
  • unknown maker from North or Central America
  • beaded handbag, early 1900s
  • leather, cloth, shell, beading
  • Object Length/Width: 28 x 19.5 cm
    Object Length/Width: 11 x 7 5/8 in
  • Gift from the estate of Gertrude W. Green
  • Not on display
  • 2007.1997

The "U" shaped leather handbag has a short handle and two beaded cloth flaps which fully cover the bag (a middle "flap"). The cloth handle is beaded with wide stripes of white, red and purple above the attachment, and red, white and green on the loosely hanging ends below the attachment. There are large discs of white shell at each point of attachment and the loose ends are decorated with beads of yellow and light blue.

The beaded decoration on side one consists of a white field with a red border and dark blue squares. It has a flower-like design in purple, light blue, red and green. The four large light blue circles outlined in red appear to be behind the flower.

The beaded decoration on side two is the same border design. The same colors are in the floral design, though the design itself is different, without the light blue circles, and with large dark green leaves.