W100xL300mm, China

This is a silk embroidered wallet, He Bao (荷包).  For a long time, I thought the word He has to do with lotus (荷花) but in fact its from the word (负荷) – loading.  In the old days (this going back to Han dynasty), there are no pockets in the Chinese costumes, these He Bao are developed to keep essential items such as the seal, money, handkerchiefs, etc.  In the beginning they are more of a concept for a small sack that are made of leather, can be hung by the waist, carried by hand or as a small rucksack.  By Qing dynasty, they became a popular fashion accessory, made of silk and embroidered.  They will be hang or kept at the waist band, apart from the wallet, the fashionable gentleman would also have in his waist band, a hand fan, aromatic sac, pocket knife etc.  This is folding He Bao, one of the embroidery side would hang out of the waist band while the other 2 flaps securely tuck in.  Embroidered on the wallets are word of blessings; happiness, good fortune, longevity, 5 generations together.

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