Drawing on recent technical analyses of an exquisite embroidered French alms purse that now resides at the Musée des Tissus et Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Lyon, this article argues that the purse, which was probably embroidered in Paris in the early 1340s, represents the culmination of the efforts of dozens of men and women on three different continents. Some of the women who worked in the fields where the flax was grown were simple day laborers, but many of the other men and women—both rural peasants and urban artisans—possessed specific technical knowledge and manual skills that could take years to perfect. Indeed, it took a global village of many talented individuals to create a fourteenth-century luxury alms purse from Paris. The article also explores the ecological impact of the extraction and processing of some of the raw materials that were employed in the purse.

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