Lovers’ Handkerchiefs

The lovers’ handkerchiefs date back to the 18th century. They are embroidered with the care that can only be felt by the heart of a girl who has reached the age to fall in love.

“The origin of “fiancé (hand)kerchiefs”, also known as “(hand)kerchiefs of proposal”, is thought to date back to the distinguished and noble times of the 17th and 18th centuries and were adapted by the woman of the people who made use of them when they aspired to win their fiancés hearts. As well as being part of female attire, they were used for decorative purposes. They were for the most part square shaped (50 to 60 cm) linen or cotton made and embroidered according to the taste of each embroiders. These proposal wraps represented, to some extent, the proof of the embroiderer devotion towards the men they were in love with and were, for such a purpose, offered to them. Those declarations were rarely unaccepted so the engaged boys would then make their engagement public by wearing the (hand)kerchiefs over their Sunday best suit or as neckerchiefs so that they could openly be shown off.” (…)

“Before starting to design these (hand)kerchiefs girls would first practice cross stitching on maps and markers in order to gain experience and reach perfection and afterwards, they would work their own pieces out. Everything was done on account of the fantasies: love, which seemed to be the direct cause of those rich and effusive artisan items. Since then, these (hand)kerchiefs have portrayed various kinds of sentiments felt by marriageable girls, expressed through symbols of faithfulness or religious devotion in regard to the wedding act, and through quatrains that in most cases reveal the illiteracy of the embroiders, as bad spelling or misspelling are common.”

These products are inspired by the patterns of Lovers’ handkerchiefs of Minho, which are certified handicraft products with registered trademark and GI – Geographical Indication by Adere-Minho.