Antique Hand Fans

My artistic work and creations are inspired by historical fashion, centuries of decorative arts, architecture and antiquities.  Whether used as actual materials in my clothing and jewelry, for photographic props, or carefully stored for future research – I live in a world surrounded by these treasures.

Of particular interest to me are hand fans, which you will often see held in the hands of my lovely model Mallory. Demure yet whimsical, my artists mind sees these timeless beauties as a perfect accessory and aesthetic for my creations.

There are very few art forms that combine functional, ceremonial and decorative uses as elegantly as a fan. Fewer still can match its incredible diversity in style or materials or rich history stretching back for centuries.

Research from pictorial records show that some of the earliest hand fans date from around 3000BC, and there is evidence that the Greeks, Etruscans and Romans all used fans as cooling and ceremonial devices, while Chinese literary sources associate the fan with ancient mythical and historical characters. The first folding fans were inspired and copied from samples that were brought from Europe by early merchant traders and religious orders that built colonies along the coasts of China and Japan.

The early fans were reserved for royalty and were regarded as a symbol of status and wealth. The exquisite montures or frames were beautifully made of carved ivory, mother of pearl and tortoise shell and ornamented with silver, gold, pearls and precious stones as well as hand painting.

Pictured are two favorites of mine.

As I handed Mallory each fan to hold, I could see her transforming into a goddess from another time. Timeless. That is how I see beauty.

Xo,

Jill