Nuri Bags

Hand-painted evening bags

Delray Beach, Fl
Set aside your jewel-encrusted and beaded evening bags. The next wave is Nuri, specifically the hand-lacquered and hand-painted oval bags with flowing tassels made by Acklen Rae Dunning in her studio. As captivating as a Fabergé egg, the Nuri bag can lead a double life. It can be used as an evening bag (and yes, it's roomy enough for a cell phone and a few other necessities) or, as collectors of Asian art prefer, it can hang on the wall as an objet. Inspired by the highly decorated miniature lacquer cases called inros that were carried by Chinese and Japanese officials as early as the 15th century, the Nuri bag has a historical precedent. But Acklen, an artist who taught at the Isabel O'Neill Studio Workshop in New York City, departs from tradition, preferring synthetic resins for the case rather than natural ones. Each bag, whether limited-edition or one-of-a-kind, is meticulously hand-painted in traditional, trompe l'oeil, or fanciful designs. The Nuri bags are available by commission and at the Keith Lipert Gallery in Washington, D.C.; Portantina in New York City; and at Pryorities in Houston. They range in price from $1,200 to $2,500. By appointment only. Dunning Associates, Inc., 86 SE 4th Ave., Delray Beach, FL 33483; 561-330-9200.