Sunday, July 24, 2011

History of the Tussie Mussie

A Tussie-mussie is a small nosegay or posey, usually carrying a special message in the laguage of flowers. Tussie is a medieval term for knot of flowers and mussie is derived from the moist moss used to keep the flowers fresh. These bouquets can be traced back a millenia or more as they were used to guard off foul odors from the people and the streets. In the 15th century a simple tussie mussie was quite commonplace. By the 18th century, it was all the rage to wear or carry fresh flowers as a fashion accessory.
The Victorians brought Tussie mussies to an art form and used them to convey messages through the language of flowers. Symbolic meanings were adapted from mythology, religious symbols, ancient lore and a bit of creativity. So much language developed that entire dictionaries were created to help a lady express herself through the flowers.

Even today a tussie-mussie is sometimes carried by a bride. A bouquet like this is a personal way to convey congratulations, sympathy, baby blessings, good wishes or to express thanks.

This fascinating history and display of floral dictionaries, reproduction and antique posie holders and books was at the Herb Society of America annual conference and presented by member Pat Beckman from Cincinnati.

1 comment:

Angela McRae said...

What a great collection of posie holders! I'll bet they were even lovelier in person!