Miniature Schoolbag

This miniature silver 'schoolbag' was made in Amsterdam around 1700, and is marked with an unidentified maker's mark. In the sixteenth and seventeenth century, for each child, a wooden box for books, a slate and a stylus hung on the classroom wall. These wooden schoolbags were also called writing drawer boxes.

Because there were no school desks yet, these boxes were used as tables during lessons. The children then put the wooden 'schoolbag' upside down on their knees. Hence the name writing drawer. You didn't walk with them but left them at school where they were hung on the wall. These schoolbags were usually homemade and went from generation to generation. They are often real pieces of folk art that are beautifully decorated.


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