Cool in fashion, tool for communication
Posted On July 16, 2019
For centuries, the handheld fan endured as a fashion accessory and even became a tool for secret communication.
Eastern and Western cultures alike have embraced the traditional handheld fan, not only as a temperature-cooling instrument, but also as an accessory that adds a delicate silhouette to a look. For a long time in Europe, these beautiful items were must-have accessories in high society and a true fashion statement for women.
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The earliest hand fan was called flabellum and first appeared in ancient Egypt as a tool to keep insects away – an example was found in the tomb of Tutankhamun. In its modern incarnation for air flow, handheld fans were first seen in Japan around the sixth century CE. However, it wasn’t until the 17th century, when huge quantities of folding fans were exported from China and Japan to Europe, that they became true fashion staples. In that era, nobility and royalty had multiple fans for a variety of uses – one in the morning, another at night, yet another in the street and yet another for important occasions.