Imagine…you live in a castle or a fancy bourgeois house and you are in your thirties. It is 1700 and something. You have not chosen your husband yourself and you are not married because you love the guy. It is an arrangement between two families. Profitable for the families but not necessarily for you.
Quite often you are invited to a big party. Lots of guests attend. All dressed beautifully, with a lot of jewelry. Even your fan, which you use to get some fresh air is decorated with gemstones and ivory.
lace and ivory folded fan
A nice guy
At the party, you meet a great guy, handsome, rich and … unreachable. With all those people around you, there is no way to talk to him or make a date. But you are smart, very smart. And you find a way… using your fan.
In this blog post, I explain to you how to talk to your lover with a fan.
Types of fans
There are two types of fans. A rigid fan that you use near a fireplace to protect your skin from getting red cheeks. Or from destroying your make-up, that is based on wax and melts when the heat is too much. You need to be close to the heat because the houses in those days are unheated and the only warmth is near a fireplace or in the kitchen.
rigid and folded fan
The folded fan
The other type is the flexible fan that fits easily in a purse. This type of fan is made of ivory, bamboo, or rosewood. There are quite a few sticks made of the mentioned material and they come together. Between the sticks is silk, lace, feathers, or any other type of expensive material. You can fold that fan and close it again.
The flexible fans have a more or less wider piece in the front and at the back. And those pieces are highly decorated with gold or silver, gemstones, mother of pearl, and ivory. That is when you have a high position in society and can afford a piece of jewelry like that. A decorated and precious fan is also a great wedding gift or a present when you turn 21 years old.
wedding fan of Tsarina Maria Fjoedrovna
Why you need a fan
You use a fan near the fireplace (although then you use mostly a rigid fan). But also to get some fresh air inside and outside. The clothing in those days for a lady is not very comfortable. It is fashionable to have a very small waist. Female aids help you every day to get into a waist cincher. That corset is a kind of torture device and you don’t get a lot of air since your lungs cannot operate normally. So the fan gives you some relief and fresh air.
Another reason to bring your fan along is not only to show off with your expensive and beautiful fan but also to talk with your lover secretly.
fan language do you love me
You give secret signals or get attention by the way you hold your fan in a certain position. For instance, when you press the fan against your right shoulder you let somebody know that you don’t like him or her. But when you touch your right eye with your fan you want a date as soon as possible. If you cover your eyes with the fan it is a sign you love him. And the most important sign (I guess) is pressing the fan against your left ear to let him know to keep his mouth shut about your advances.
In Ancient Greece, people use the hand fan since the 4th century BC. And in Christian Europe, there is a type of ceremonial fan to chase the insects away from the consecrated bread and wine during services. The use of the fan is absent in the Early Middle Ages.
Crusaders bring the highly decorated fans back home to Europe from the Middle East, And the trade companies bring them from Asia as a present for their wives. Especially in Spain, the fan is very popular by the flamingo dancers and the nobility.
Queen Elisabeth I
In the 17th century, the folded fan comes from Japan and gets popular with the royals and noble ladies. On a painting of Queen Elisabeth, she carries a folded fan decorated with pom-poms.
fan maria fjoederovna and Spanish flamingo dancer
Piece of jewelry?
The big question is whether a fan is just a tool or a piece of jewelry. My opinion is that at the beginning of the fan it may be used as a tool. But later on when the folded fans get decorated with precious metals and gemstones and very expensive fabrics. And when the artists start painting them beautifully. It becomes a piece of jewelry.
A fan in that time is not only a tool to get fresh air or a way to talk to your lover. But it is also a way to impress, feel beautiful, and to show off. Just like our ‘ordinary’ pieces of jewelry.
I like to know what is your opinion about this topic. You can let me know by reacting to this blog post.
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