October 17, 2009

Sweethearts handkerchiefs or lenços de namorados

The sweetheart’s favors or "Sweethearts´ handkerchiefs", also known as "love handkerchiefs" are a Portuguese tradition. It dates maybe from the 17th century. They have a symbolic function - the conquest of a man's love. These squares are made of linen or cotton and have embroidered messages dedicated by a young woman to the man she is in love with. She then sent it to the man and, if her love was returned, he would use the handkerchief in public. In case he didn´t, the romantic dream was over. Often these handkerchiefs have language mistakes and rhyme. Designs include blackberry vines, bouquets, flowers, hearts, and keys to open hearts, butterflies, doves, religious symbols, etc. Linnen is embroidered in cross stitch, in running and stem stitches. 

Here's an example of "lenço de namorados". The maker is Virgínia Fonseca and she lives in Peso da Régua.  I like the simplicity and ingenuity of it all.
I created a line of products inspired by these "Sweethearts'handkerchiefs" and blue color.  Have a look!

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