Fässing -the shoulder bag

Whilja' s Corner

There is a stone carving on a medieval church in Gotland, Sweden, picturing a servant (?) carrying a sack over her shoulder

Stone carving (14th c) Martebo Church, Gotland, Sweden

The sack is today most commonly known to be closely linked to the traveling salesman, ‘knallar’, who was traveling around mid Sweden selling their merchandise since the 16th century, the merchandise was usually carried in a shoulder bag.

Traveling salesman 1912 (A. Strindberg) and a picture of a folk dress from Västergötland (unknown)

The word ‘Fässing‘ derives from the unique dialect (Månsing), used by Knallarna, and means approximately stuffed sack. Different spelling; fussing (1587), fässäng, fessäng (1749-1833), fästing (1772-1851). Some areas used the word fässing, or halm-fässing, as the word for a mattress (a bag stuffed with hay). Today most historical interested Swedes use fässing as the word for the shoulder bag, a spelling first seen…

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