I’ve come up with a new feature to entertain you dear readers, and I do hope you will enjoy it. The CMC has a wonderful collection of hand fans dating back to the 1800’s and I’m excited to share some of these brilliant artifacts with you. First however, we must begin with a brief history of the hand fan.
Archaeological evidence dates fans back to at least 4000 years ago in Egypt. They have been used throughout the centuries as a means of cooling oneself, as well as showing status, accenting an outfit, and also for coquettish purposes. There is some debate over the existence of a “fan language” that women used throughout the 18th and 19th century to indicate to a suitor if she may have been interested in his advances. Whether this is true or not, fans were an indispensable fashion accessory in the Victorian times. There were fans for day time use, fans for fancy balls, fans for weddings, fans for mourning and everything in between. Fans have been made of all manner of materials as well. In our collection we have lace fans, feather fans, fabric fans, wooden fans, ornate beaded fans, hand painted fans, plastic fans, paper fans, and more. Later on in the 20th century businesses began to use fans as a means of advertising and would print their business information or logo onto a fan to hand out for free to people at special events. A clever way to advertise on a hot day no?
And now that you know a little more about fans, I’ll start you off with one from our collection. This gorgeous flower painted fan is from 1900-1910, a true Edwardian gem. Be sure to click on the photos to enlarge them so you can get a good look at the detailing!
References & Further Reading:
(please note the following links are not associated with the CMC in any way.)