The Courtauld Bag is one of the most exceptional pieces of its kind. Roundels (discs) on the bag’s body feature musicians, revellers and horsemen. The key to the bag’s function is found on its lid. Here a courtly feast unfolds, framed by a band of inscriptions praising the ruler. Attendants in minutely patterned coats and sumptuous hats bring food and drink in luxurious vessels of the type found across Asia and the Middle East. An attendant at either end offers courtly entertainments of music and hunting.

In the centre sits an enthroned female figure, probably the ruler’s consort (khatun). Her personal attendant, wearing a similar bag across his chest, offers her a mirror. The loop attachments still present on the Courtauld Bag confirm it was likewise once worn with straps.


  • Title: The Courtauld Metal Bag
  • Location Created: Mosul, Northern Iraq
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 15.2 cm Length: 22 cm (base) Length: 19.2 cm (aperture) Depth: 13.5 cm
  • Type: Metalwork
  • Rights: Photo Ⓒ The Courtauld
  • External Link: Find out more about the Courtauld Bag
  • Medium: Metalwork

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