Friday, 6 January 2012

Medieval Leather Bags

In the U.K. on Twelfth Night, January 6th, it is traditional for all Christmas decorations to be taken down and carefully packed away ready for next year. It is widely believed that leaving your Christmas decorations up longer than twelve days following Christmas will court bad luck.

In the Middle Ages, however, it was much more common to exchange gifts on Twelfth Night than on Christmas Day itself and for a great feast to be held in celebration. Such a scene is shown beautifully illustrated in the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry; a medieval manuscript and calendar dating back to circa 1416, otherwise known as a book of hours and containing prayers. This illustration depicts the month of January.

The Duc de Berry himself is depicted on the right, in blue, seated at the lavishly-laden table. It’s fascinating to see how fashion styles evolve over the centuries, or maybe they actually don’t. Look carefully at the medieval leather bags. Similar designs are still in fashion today. For example, Bolla Bags makes an excellent quality leather bag which evokes the medieval style of the day at £56.95. Available from

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