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Anna Chlupová: Decorative handkerchiefs

A young man in a festive clothes, west Slovakia, the beginning of the 20th centuryA decorative handkerchief was an important addition to traditional clothes in many regions of Slovakia. It was worn not only by young girls as well as women but also by young men exclusively for celebrative occasions, mainly on Sundays for church. The handkerchief was transferred to folk environment from the noblemen’s and burgers’ clothes in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The handkerchiefs featured a square shape and were made from soft cotton materials – mainly batiste, chiffon with dimensions from 20 to 50 cm. They were notable due to their decoration. On a small surface of the material women created attractive flower motifs and compositions. The decoration was concentrated on one, two or very often all four corners. It was no exception when a different type of motif was found in a different corner. Part of the embroidery decoration was lace, found around the whole perimeter. White prevailed as a colour, although red, red and white embroidery and often multicoloured combinations can also be found. Handkerchiefs were worn by girls and women stuck on the waist or in hand. It was folded in such a way that all four embroidered corners were visible. Handkerchiefs for men did not differ from female ones. Girls and women embroidered those for men as a sign of love. Sometimes the embroidery contained a year, monogram or the full name of the owner. Men wore handkerchiefs stuck in their trousers.




Further articles in the magazine Craft, Art, Design 01/2005:


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