Aumônières, otherwise known as alms purses: Embellished textile purses in the European 14th century
McGann, Tasha Kelly
La cotte simple (2011)
Pockets as we know them today were not in use in the 14th century. People required some other conveyance for every-day items like money, a paternoster (prayer beads later known as a rosary), a small book of hours, or wax tablet and stylus. The purse, which came in many shapes and sizes, was a common accessory for both men and women. Naturally, the art of the time abounds with people wearing purses hanging from their girdles, purchasing purses, and reaching into or out of their purses. Women seem to have been partial to the rectangular drawstring variety, which dangled from a carrying cord. Men wore these too, in addition to other styles ranging from dainty to utilitarian. The following images are a small sampling of 14th century illuminations depicting people with their purses.