Lace fan

Brussels Mixed, a combination of bobbin and needle lace, is secured to mother of pearl staves and shaped to create this elegant fan. The needle lace in the central rose design is gauzy point de gaze, while the border is Duchesse de Bruxelles bobbin lace. Note the delicate etching and metallic tracing on the mother of pearl.


Collection Connections 

  • Fan

    Fan

    Asia: South Asia, India, Western India, Gujarat, Saurashtra

    View More 
  • Fan

    Fan

    Asia: East Asia, Japan

    View More 
  • Fan

    Fan

    Asia: South Asia, India, Western India, Gujarat, Kutch, Bhuj

    View More 

What is the language of fans and what do they communicate?

responded: Sep 19, 2011

Posted by Milagros Albisu

222
Recommend this Response
Fans have been around for many centuries. But it is in the 18th to 19th century that they were most popular. Not just used to cool down on a hot day or in a crowded room, the women of this time developed a “language” through the gestures and speed that accompanied fanning oneself. While most of the gestures vary in meaning, these fan “codes” were used mainly to communicate with possible suitors without having others find out. It was a silent language of love that today can be identified with flirting. Young and even older women used this system to secretly send messages to the person of interest (or those they wished to leave them alone). Moving the fan slowly, quickly, half-opened, closed, or against the chest or cheeks had a significant implication. Some typical messages sent were ones such as “I am single”, “I am engaged”, “Be careful” (someone is watching perhaps), “I am upset”, “I don’t wish to speak to you”, “Follow me”. There are no historical records that outline exact movements or meanings. For that reason, I think that the body language and speed of the woman and her fan played a part in the communication so that any gentleman with common sense could easily decipher her intentions.

Elements of this site may require Flash player 8