The world’s oldest handbag belongs to the Mongol noblewomen…

Bag, Mosul, northern Iraq, 1300-1330

A 14th-century women’s accessory from Northern Iraq, the centerpiece of a new exhibition at the Courtauld Gallery in London, is perhaps the earliest remaining handbag in the world, writes Tanvi Misra.
Made from brass and inlaid with gold and silver, the bag is the only one of its kind – making it difficult for experts to figure out what it was. It used to be thought to be a work basket, document wallet or even a saddle bag, now it is conceived as a women’s handbag made in Mosul in the 1300s.

Detail of court scene on the lid
There is even a page with the handbag itself, along with a mirror and napkin – everything the noblewoman needs to freshen up, says Rachel Ward, curator of the exhibition.