From the late 1800's to the 1940's exotic lands, and foreign destinations captured the imagination of the west. Oriental design, fabric and imagery influenced fashion. Purses were the perfect vehicle. The variety seems endless.
Many clutch purses had oriental themes. Petit point bags with floral designs and jade and turquoise and carnelian stone made in China for export, were such prized items that exclusive retailers like Sax Fifth Avenue and Marshall Field & Company offered them for sale.
Chinese embroidered rank badges orignially worn by government officials were made into purses. Some had Jade bracelets for handles.
French celluloid purse frames 1920's and 1930's featured rickshaws, oriental figures, Buddas, and even geisha's. I have included a link on the last page to celluloidpurses.com. The site is a treasure!
Fabrics and materials exported from the Orient, could be finished in Europe. It is not uncommon to see a small beaded bag with Chinese embroidery, and a French or Belgium lable inside. Materials were rich: silk, silver, pearls coral and more. The embroidery was superb.
Below is just a sampling.