This lot once formed part of the collection of the Barons Nathaniel and Albert von Rothschild (1836-1905 and 1844-1911, respectively), members of the Austrian branch of the celebrated dynasty. These brothers, great-grandsons of Mayer Amschel Rothschild, the founder of the family fortunes in the 18th century, put together impressive collections of paintings, furniture and works of art, which they housed in sumptuous palaces almost opposite each other in Vienna. The collections were confiscated at the time of the German Anschluss, and remained in Austrian museums until relatively recently, when they were restored to the heirs of Nathaniel and Albert. A number of items from this collection were sold together as a single owner sale in these Rooms, 8 July 1999.
This bag is part of the tradition of etched steel objects, particularly caskets, which were produced in centres such as Nuremberg in the 16th and early 17th centuries. The present example, which is notable for its large size, was presumably commissioned by an important monastery or guild. The latin inscription can be translated as 'The Lord has always given all things to us. To none, therefore, shall he ever give less'.