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Shepherds Purse: Types - Crescent-shaped

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This group seems to me to be the "core" of the Shepherds Purse style. It gives the appearance of being a more deliberate creation than simply wrapping something up in a cloth and tying around your waist, and yet even when apparently shaped and sewn it seems to overlap stylistically with the other three major stylistic groups. There is a substantial group of examples where the crescent silhouette is combined with a netting motif (see "net + crescent" in the netted bags section). There are several examples that are ambiguous between the sash and crescent groups, usually due to the angle from which they are seen, and the flapped style of crescent-shaped pouch may echo the rolled-up fabric in the flap. Speculations on whether the smooth shape of the crescent style is an artistic stylization or the result of actual shaping in construction are discussed in "Artifact or Artistic Motif?".

Pouch with No Attached Objects

Hanging from the shoulder, rather than the waist

Like the netted style, the crescent-shaped style can sometimes be found worn slung from the shoulder rather than around the waist. These examples are particularly interesting when visually identical pouches appear in the same scene in both styles of wear, as in the Misal Rico, and the Hours of Mary of England. I'm also including here examples in the "shaped" group that are found worn over the shoulder.

Misal Rico of Cardinal Cisneros

Hours of Mary of England

Hours of Isabella Stuart

Virgin of the Stair

Bronzino adoration

With zig-zag bottom edge

The purpose or origin of this design element is unclear. At the very least, it lends support to a construction interpretation that involves a seam along the bottom edge.

Repas Champetre

Hours of Mary of England

May have flap

Egerton MS 1147

Transitional between sash and crescent-shape

While the largest group of crescent-shaped pouches have a fairly smooth shape that tapers at the ends, several are drawn with folds that seem more strongly suggestive of a sash origin, while still showing the exaggerated bulge characteristic of the crescent group.

Playfair Book of Hours

Grande Heures of Anne of Brittany

de Beer adoration

Simple crescent-shaped pouch with no other factors

(The display here is representative - click here for the full catalog.) This is the largest single type-group in my study. Most of these are fairly uninteresting in the details, or are rendered in a relatively indistinct manner. The characteristics include a smooth, unwrinkled fabric, forming a distinct bulge, tapering at both ends (although usually only one end is visible), where the "pouch section" of the object takes up no more than half of the circumference of the waist. Most typically, the tapered ends disappear under the cloth of the clothing, but when visible, they become a narrow strap.


Tres Riches Heures

Hours of the Maréchal de Boucicaut

Misal Rico of Cardinal Cisneros

Crescent-shaped Pouch with Tools

The pouches in these examples are similar to those above with two exceptions. Objects are never attached to the pouch section of a netted crescent pouch, although they may be attached to the strap section. And objects don't appear with pouches slung over the shoulder (although that is a relatively small group). For discussion of the tools and attachment methods, see the section on Attached Objects.

Tools are attached to belt

Zodiacal Man

Hardouyn Book of Hours

Attachment method is unclear

The Shepherds (tapestry)

La Danse (tapestry)

Tools attached underneath pouch

Stowe MS 955 (unclear if these are tools as opposed to decorative tassels or something similar)

Grande Heures of Anne of Brittany

Tools attached to pouch

La Main Chaude (tapestry)

scene of hunting and dance (tapestry)

scene of hunting and shepherding #1 (tapestry)

Return from the hunt (tapestry)

scene of hunting and shepherding #2 (tapestry)

scenes of childhood/annunciation (tapestry)

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