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  • Place of origin:

    Bengal (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1850 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Printed silk

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Printed handkerchiefs like this were a major export item from Bengal to Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. This type, with floral print on a tussar silk ground, is close to other types of printed tussar textiles such as saris made in the textile centre of Berhampur. The major export for trade goods like the handkerchief was nearby Kasimbazar, a name that became almost synonymous with Bengali export piecegoods.

Physical description

Squarish silk handkerchief of brownish tussar silk, block-printed in red and black with a floral design.

Place of Origin

Bengal (made)


ca. 1850 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Printed silk


Width: 755 mm Top edge, Width: 768 mm Bottom edge, Length: 900 mm Proper right, Length: 894 mm Proper left, Weight: 10 kg Weighed on roller

Descriptive line

Printed silk handkerchief, brownish with red and black floral design, Bengal, ca. 1850

Labels and date


Traders exported handkerchiefs made in Bengal to Europe and North America. Printed silk choppas (from Hindi chhapna: 'to print') were hugely popular, as were tie-dyed silk bandannoes (from Hindi bandhana: 'to tie'), the origin of the modern bandanna handkerchief. Fine Bengali cottons were also used for handkerchiefs, sometimes with mottos or names woven into their borders.

Length of bandannoe handkerchiefs
Tie-dyed silk
Berhampur, West Bengal, 1830-80
V&A: 18.678-1883

Choppa handkerchief
Printed silk
Kasimbazar, West Bengal, 1820-50
V&A: 18.17-2008

Personalised handkerchief
Cotton with silk borders, woven with the name and titles of Colonel T.H. Hendley
Santipur, West Bengal, 1898-1903
Given by Mrs G.M. Hendley
V&A: 1S.218-1992
[03/10/2015 - 10/01/2016]

Production Note

Probably made in Berhampur


Accessories; Clothing; Textiles


South & South East Asia Collection

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