Flower Holder

Artist/maker unknown, English or American

Geography:
or England, Europe
Made in United States, North and Central America

Date:
1860-80

Medium:
Silver

Dimensions:
5 1/16 x 1 5/8 inches (12.9 x 4.1 cm) Weight: 17 dwt (0.03 kg)

Curatorial Department:
American Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:
1902-339

Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. William D. Frishmuth, 1902

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Label:

This flower or posey holder known as a Tussie (knot of flowers) Mussie (moist moss), was a nosegay for formal wear. It might have replaced a fan, especially in the winter season, as a dressy accessory to be carried. The chain, attached to the holder at one end and fitted with a finger ring at the other end, made the ornament more secure when whirling in the waltz. The "vase" was stuffed with damp moss which kept the flowers fresh, and a silver pin fit across the flaring, filigree leaf and held the flowers in place.

This form was a decorative successor to the pomander ball - a 17th century confection of spices, herbs, and fruit rinds, in a perforated, silver vessel sometimes worn on the chatelaine and which supposedly protected the wearer from air borne diseases and offensive odors.

At the end of the 19th century, Tussie Mussies were manufactured in quantity in England and Europe and probably in America although few are marked. The wirework in intricate and the designs individualistic.