An Indonesian fashion designer is selling a handbag he claims is made out of a human spine that was legally bought from a Canadian company.
The purse, a $5,000 one-off piece by designer Arnold Putra, went on sale in 2016, but spurred outrage last month when an Instagram post about the item went viral, Insider reported Monday.
“Made of an entire child’s spine who had osteoporosis,” read the description of the bag, posted on the account @byarnoldputra.
Putra told Insider that the account isn’t his but that he has “contributed” to it.
He wouldn’t tell the outlet whether the spine did actually once belong to a child. Two child osteopaths said the bag was made out of a real human spine, but did not agree on whether it belonged to a child.
Outraged social media users bombarded Putra’s Instagram account last week.
“How can you even, in a right mindset, use a child’s spine for a bag?” one person wrote.
Another person added: “Defamation of the deceased child for profit? Rock bottom.”
The designer said that the spine had been “medically sourced from Canada with papers.”
He said it was possible to buy bones from licensed companies that receive human specimens donated to science and sometimes sell them as surplus.
The human bone trade is legal in several US states, and some countries including Canada, according to National Geographic.
Responding to critics posting on his Instagram account, Putra told Insider” “It’s part of a creative learning process that should involve opposition, otherwise it would just be a form of repeated validation.”
“I’m not intending to sell out and will continue to realize my ideas that are frequently changing in terms of subject matter.”