handkerchief

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handkerchief.

In classical Greece pieces of fine perfumed cotton, known as mouth or perspiration cloths, were often used by the wealthy. From the 1st cent. B.C., Roman men of rank used an oblong cloth of linen (the sudarium) chiefly to wipe perspiration from the face and hands. During the empire a square handkerchief of cotton or silk was carried, especially by women. The handkerchief was dropped by the praetors as a starting signal in the Roman games and was waved by spectators as a sign of approval. In the Middle Ages it was a prized possession and was conspicuously displayed by the wealthy. It was worn by knights in tournament as the symbol of a lady's favor. It came into general use in the Renaissance and was called a napkyn. Silk, cambric, and lawn, lavishly embroidered or laced, became fashionable for both men and women. Shapes were also varied. Today the handkerchief is more practical than decorative. Disposable paper handkerchiefs are used for all but very formal occasions. The handkerchief carried in the left hand of the officiating priest in the early Christian church evolved into a folded band that by the 12th cent. had become the maniple, worn on the left arm.
References in periodicals archive ?
It's a far cry from when the Python's staged their first show at Coventry's Belgrade Theatre back in 1971 and turned up to find men dressed up as "Gumbies" complete with knotted handkerchieves in the front row of the circle.
People not only urinate, but also spit while they walk around selling socks, handkerchieves, caps, clothes and other things.
Other activities ranged from work in skill intensive areas such as weaving of Benarsi cloth, making imitation jewellery, manufacture of artificial flowers and other decorative items to more menial tasks such as opening cement bags, and packing of various items such as biscuits, handkerchieves, etc.