Thursday, September 30, 2010
A Social Essential
The fan business was booming in the eighteenth century, so much so that there were specialized fan makers, and consequently, fan maker guilds across Europe. The folding fan had originally arrived from China a century beforehand and was now the gold standard. Fans would either be made of paper or silk and painted by artists with cheerful rococo scenes. Paper designs would be painted or printed for mass production. Hand-painted silk fans were more one-of-a-kind, and therefore more in demand. If you were willing to drop some major money you could purchase a fan complete with spangles or intricate carvings on mother of pearl, tortoise shell, or ivory slats. So you could say fans were kind of like the eighteenth century version of bling. The more money you spent the more blinged out you and your fan-language was. Considering a fan could be the first thing a person notices on you, it might just be worth your while to go beyond your means in the effort to make a stunning first impression!