Spanish fans

The Spanish Fan

Our protagonist today is a highly valued female complement in our culture: the Spanish fan. Its main function is to give air but it is also a very elegant female wardrobe accessory and can even be a wonderful decoration object. Do you know the different uses that a fan can have? Do you know what a fan is made of and what are its parts?

In our country the most common fan is the folding fan. Within the folding fans we find two types: semicircular and round. In this post we will focus on the semicircularis that are the best known and manufactured in our area.

Our traditional semicircular fan is made up of a set of equal flat rods, made of wood, ivory or synthetic material, which are held at their base by means of a nail or small ring. The rods are joined at the other end by a wide band of cloth or paper that in most cases presents decoration.

What are the parts of a fan and components of the fan?

  • Deck: folding fan structure
  • Country: fabric of the fan that is attached to the deck. Fans that do not have a country are called “de baraja” or “decks” simply.
  • Rods: are the strips of wood that can be painted or pierced. (The set of rods is called “linkage”).
  • Source: First section of the rod
  • Guide: Second section of the rod, on which the “country” is attached.
  • Guard or head: first and last rod, thicker than the others.
  • Draft: holes in the rods that serve both as decoration and to increase their aerodynamics.

Types of fans

Depending on their use, we can differentiate the fans into the different categories:

Flamenco Fan : It is the fan used in dance, more specifically in flamenco dance. Its size is usually large (about 31.5) to give showiness to the dance, although the somewhat more manageable half pericones (27 cm) are also available that are ideal for both beginners and children. It stands out for its simplicity, since for this function they are not usually painted, in any case some lace ornament or some carved in the wood. It is one of the accessories for flamenco dancing that gives more play.

Do not hesitate to choose a different color to your flamenco wardrobe to obtain a beautiful contrast of tones 🙂

Fan as an accessory: Its most common use is the one that gave rise to it, to cool off in hot weather or indoors. But it is also an elegant accessory for party or fair outfits. Choosing a slightly smaller size will give a more distinguished style to an exclusive celebration. This type of fan is the perfect complement to your flamenco dress .

Decorative fan : They are usually large and decorated with colorful colors and ornaments. Undoubtedly a traditional touch to decorate any room and a magnificent option as a gift or souvenir if you choose it with typical motifs of the culture where you buy it.

How did the well-known “fan language” come about?

In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it was very common for young women to go to social events accompanied by their mothers or a relative and could not communicate freely with the men present. That is why they devised a secret language in which they transmitted short messages depending on how or in what position the fan was placed. In this way, with a code that was known, they could record their preferences or intentions without being discovered.

The range outside of Europe

The main antecedents of the fan are, as we have already mentioned previously, the Egyptian parasol or flabello. There is evidence of their use since the 19th dynasty and already in Tutankhamun’s tomb they were listed as part of the trousseau. From the 5th century BC, the Egyptian flabel appears in Ancient Greece and later in Ancient Rome.

Fans are also essential objects in Chinese and Japanese cultures, being fundamental in some ceremonies and theatrical shows. In Japan the fan was more linked to the everyday and some were closely related to the tea ceremony.

Symbolism and language of the fan

Although in principle they were objects used by both sexes, they eventually ended up being exclusive to ladies, becoming an indispensable fashion accessory in the upper classes. In fact, a language of its own was created according to the position or the way in which it was used.

In Eastern culture it symbolizes the air and within Taoism it is related to the idea of ​​liberation.