According to Pacific artist Rosanna Raymond this “Tongan handbag reflects modern innovation from traditional basket-making and plaiting or rope making techniques. This style has gone out of fashion but you still see them being made today, this is a great example which would have been made for the tourist trade but no doubt the locals would have loved it as well, it is very well constructed and made from pandanus.”
This bag is made of white silk satin and is decorated with applied green beetle wings. During the later part of the 19th century, there was a fashion for trimmings and detailing from nature. Real beetle wings, and sometimes the whole beetle, were used as decoration on bags.
W. & J. Sangster of Regent Street, London was a well-known parasol manufacturer. The firm registered their designs to prevent copying by other manufacturers. Sangsters’ innovative parasols were illustrated highlights in the official catalogue when they showed their designs at the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in 1851. Carriage parasols had sticks or handles that folded so they could be used to shade the face.
This victorian reticule was made in India. It is slightly stained but the three peacocks in the centre are still displaying their golden wings. The green cords with green and gold tassels match the colour of the body perfectly well.
Pendings were worn by everyone as a fashion statement. Those who could afford it would purchase them made from silver and gold. This a copper alloy example with blue-black enamel called niello. Buckles are not indicators of rank. This particular buckle is no longer made in the Malay Peninsula and superbly illustrates one of two examples of niello work called a Sumatran Ligor Chutam.