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What would we do without purses and handbags? The oldest known purse was a pouch worn by Ötzi the Iceman over 5,000 years ago. Originally, purses or money bags were designed as small bags or pouches to hold coins. Purses were constructed of soft fabric or leather and carried equally by men and women. Many 17th century women's purses were beautifully embroidered works of art.
The modern purse, handbag, clutch and pouch developed during the Industrial Revolution in England due to increased travel by train. Small purses proved inadequate for the journey by rail both in size and durability. The first modern set of luxury handbags were introduced in 1841. The set included a clutch and a tote which was referred to as a 'ladies travelling case.' The term handbag, first referred to men's hand-luggage during the early 1900s. Handbags eventually encompassed women's accessories. Another type of women's handbag is the reticule; a small bag made of fabrics like silk, velvet or embroidered, with a drawstring pull. This purse was carried over the arm with wrist straps, a cord or chain. Reticules were often hand made by the wearer and decorated with embroidery or beading. Coin purses for males eventually evolved into pockets in pants and trousers.
People use purses, handbags and coin purses for functional and specific purposes. To carry valuable identification, money, toiletries, hair combs, grocery lists, pretty much to carry the things they believe are necessary to bring with them where ever they go. Handbags come in a seemingly endless variety of colors, sizes, shapes and designs. That is because people who carry handbags prefer fashion as well as function and choose between different styles to match their choice of attire or dress.
Modern purses for males are variations of backpacks, leather satchels and messenger bags. These bags are available in a variety of shapes and sizes and usually have masculine or unisex appearance names like man bag, man-purse and murse. Challenge the young budding artist with these fun beach bags and high fashion handbag and coin purse images. Print and color these purses and handbags with crayons or markers.
Hold a designing contest in the classroom and vote on the best design. Print on shrink art media and color to create fun charms for bracelets or ear-rings and necklaces.