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Fans

Fans

The fan, a simple device by which a person can wave air at his or her body in order to cool it, has been one of the most basic fashion accessories for thousands of years. There is evidence that some type of flat paddle used to move air had been used in ancient Mesopotamia (the region centered in present-day Iraq), Egypt, Greece, and Rome, but the Chinese are widely believed to have been the first to use the fan as a decorative item. Credit for the invention of the fan is disputed, but it is widely believed that the emperor Hsein Yüan, who ruled China beginning in 2699 b.c.e., first introduced the fan.

The first Chinese fans were made of pheasant or peacock feathers mounted on a handle. Soon they developed several varieties of stiff, flat fans, made out of solid materials like palm or bamboo, or of silk stretched over a frame. As with many other Chinese costume traditions, fans were introduced to Japan in the sixth century c.e. The Japanese adapted the fan into the folding fan, which has since become the most popular form of fan. Folding fans have rigid sticks on the outer edges that provide a frame for a series of thin pleated or folded materials, such as silk or paper. The fan materials are attached at one end of the sticks, allowing the entire fan to be gently folded into a thin shaft. People could easily carry a folding fan and open it to provide a breeze when needed. Japan exported the folding fan back to China, where the Chinese made versions of their own.

Both Chinese and Japanese fans were and are highly decorated. Artists painted complex scenes that were revealed when the fan was unfolded, or calligraphers, who specialized in delicate handwriting, wrote messages across the unfolding blades. In both China and Japan, different styles of fan were used for different occasions. Special fans might be used for dancing or for a tea ceremony, for example.

Fans have remained a popular fashion accessory in Asia to this day. Europeans adopted fans beginning in the Middle Ages (c. 500c. 1500 c.e.), and they were especially popular during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

De Vere Green, Bertha. Fans Over the Ages: A Collector's Guide. New York: A. S. Barnes, 1979.

Yarwood, Doreen. The Encyclopedia of World Costume. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1978.

[See also Volume 3, Sixteenth Century: Fans ; Volume 3, Seventeenth Century: Fans ]

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"Fans." Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear through the Ages. . Retrieved October 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/fashion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/fans

Fans

Fans

Fashionable ladies in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were known for carrying a variety of personal accessories, including gloves, pomanders (scented jeweled balls), handkerchiefs, and fans. Fans had been used in China from as early as 3000 b.c.e. and were popular in Japan beginning in the seventh century c.e. People began to use feather fans during the Middle Ages (c. 500c. 1500) and the rigid board fan, usually made of decorated wood, came into use in Italy early in the sixteenth century. The folding fan was imported to Europe from the Orient in the sixteenth century and quickly became popular among noblewomen in the courts of Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, and England.

As with other elements of costume from this period, decoration was the key to the fan. Fans could be made of all variety of materials, from exotic bird feathers to delicate lace to gilded wood. No expense was spared to make fans for the richest women. The way that a fan was used was also an important part of a woman's overall presentation. A woman might shyly hide her face behind a spread fan, or wave her fan about in a dramatic manner.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

De Vere Green, Bertha. Fans Over the Ages: A Collector's Guide. New York: A. S. Barnes, 1979.

Yarwood, Doreen. The Encyclopedia of World Costume. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1978.

[See also Volume 2, Early Asian Cultures: Fans ]

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"Fans." Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear through the Ages. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Fans." Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear through the Ages. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 17, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/fashion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/fans-0

"Fans." Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear through the Ages. . Retrieved October 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/fashion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/fans-0

Fans

Fans

Perhaps the most important accessory for wealthy women in the seventeenth century was the folding fan. Made of fine materials such as silk or decorated paper, stretched between handles of ivory, carved wood, or even fine gold, and studded with jewels, fans were an item used to display the user's wealth and distinction. Women carried their fans dangling from decorative ties at their waist or held them in the hand. Late in the seventeenth century and through the eighteenth century fans became a prime prop in women's social performance. Women coyly hid their faces behind fans, waving them delicately in the air, in the flirtatious courtship rituals of the period. "There was an art in using a fan," writes fashion historian Ruth M. Green, "and some ladies wielded it with such self-conscious stylishness that they provoked the satirists," who ridiculed the exaggerated manners of some fan wavers.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Cassin-Scott, Jack. Costume and Fashion in Colour, 15501760. Introduction by Ruth M. Green. Dorset, England: Blandford Press, 1975.

De Vere Green, Bertha. Fans Over the Ages: A Collector's Guide. New York: A. S. Barnes, 1979.

[See also Volume 3, Sixteenth Century: Fans ]

Cite this article
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"Fans." Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear through the Ages. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Fans." Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear through the Ages. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 17, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/fashion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/fans-1

"Fans." Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear through the Ages. . Retrieved October 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/fashion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/fans-1