1930's - 1940's - 1950's
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The Treasure Chest
The Purse and the Peacock Phenomenon
There is nothing more fascinating and beautiful
than the male peacock in full plumage. They are among the most spectacular birds
in the world, particularly the green peacock. This gorgeous species is
larger, taller, brighter and more prominent than the more common blue peacock.
From the Pharaohs of Egypt to the Greek and Roman
goddesses, the peacock has been admired and favored above all other birds.
The feathers of the peacock offer stimulation to the
visual aspects of our imaginations. They play music to our hearts
and inspire us to express love. Just as the female peahen is attracted to
the male peacock's plumage, these radiant and iridescent feathers often
have the same effect on the human senses. This majestic bird brings joy
and harmony into the celebration of life as he proudly expresses his stately
walks and dances to the courting female.
For centuries, the eye of the peacock feather as
been considered to be a sign of knowledge, further evidence that the ancients
were sensually connected to the peacock. Symbolically, a crown of peacock
feathers denoted not only knowledge but that love without knowledge was dead.
The peacock is considered to be a gift from our
Creator. Ultimately, the full splendor of life is revealed in the tail of
the peacock. The bird has a reputation for protecting and is valued as a
guardian for one's mental health. Folk lore writes that to have a peacock
feather within one's home helps to preserve the environment.
For centuries, peacock feathers have been used to
adorn purses, clothing, jewelry, hats, floral arrangements and people themselves. Today,
the image of the peacock is considered so enticing, that major companies use the
symbol of the peacock as their trademark.
The outstanding appearance of the peacock has made
them one of the most popular themes used to decorate purses and handbags.
Over the past two centuries, various styles of peacocks have been designed with
colorful beadwork, exotic threads and iridescent sequences. Most collector's are eager to add one of
these peacock purses to their treasury of handbags. I know some
collectors that own several examples, others a dozen. Just as the green
peacock is so admired for it's exceptional beauty, it is desired to discover one
displayed on a purse, although far more difficult to find.
Regarding antique beaded purses, peacocks can be
found perched on branches, fences and regally posed in palatial gardens.
They are displayed along side extravagant urns and bowls overflowing with
flowers and greenery.
Occasionally, a rare pair of peacocks will be engaging in a romantic stance.
In this specific purse category, peacocks with intricate figural designs bring the very highest
prices. Purses, beaded or otherwise, with just the peacock's feathers are
truly exciting to find, not common at all. Typically, the antique beaded peacock
purse is considered a true work of art and no collection is complete without
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