In the 18th and 19th Century in Europe, fans were icons of fashion.
Especially in France and England, fans were considered as the must have items. They symbolized wealth. Wealthy women decorated their fans with antiquity art, paintings that were inspired from the myth and history. They also reinterpreted beautiful gardens on the fans. In the 19th Century, when Art Nouveau was born, fans were formed in Art Nouveau styles. In 1750s, there were more than 150 fan makers in Paris that clearly described the popularity of fans. The development of printing encouraged the production of cheaper fans in 18th Century. The mass production of fans increased the interest towards Fine Art. Artists painted and autographed on the fans as they do on their masterpieces. Fans not only symbolized art but also symbolized feminine vanities. Ivory, pearls, turtle shell, gold and silver were used to decorate fans. Fans represented the social statues and wealth. Moreover, fans were utilized to communicate with men in ballrooms. They were used to flirt with men. The fan language contained secret, unspoken, code of messages. For example, putting a fan on the right cheek meant, “yes”, on the left side of the cheek meant, “no.” Holding a fan with a right hand and covering face meant, “Follow me.” Holding a fan with the left hand meant, “I want to get to know you.” Stroking the edge of a fan with a finger meant, “I want to talk to you.” Touching a fan with a left finger meant, “Someone’s observing us.”