APRIL 15, 2015

Cave Creek Museum presents Fan-cy-that!

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hand fansHand fans first appeared in Europe in the 12th century and became popular in the 16th, carried by both ladies and gentlemen. They remained popular into the twentieth century, even becoming popular advertising giveaways, but like gloves and hats and other article of civility, they were cast aside during the maelstrom of social change in the late 60’s and early 70s. It didn’t help that air conditioning was becoming a lot more common about that time as well! Fans were made from just about any materials: paper, fabric, chicken skin – even human skin, and of just as varied materials were the little sticks that acted as a fan’s skeleton. Fans were often minor works of art. Many survived and are in the hands of owners or museums throughout the world, such as the Cave Creek Museum!

Did you know there was even a “Language of Fans”? Yes, indeed. And what a pretty and playful way for a lady and gentleman to indulge in a surreptitious flirtation or a clandestine conversation!

1) The fan placed near the heart: “You have won my love.”
2) A closed fan touching the right eye: “When may I be allowed to see you?”
3) The number of sticks shown answered the question: “At what hour?”
4) Threatening movements with a fan closed: “Do not be so imprudent”
5) Half-opened fan pressed to the lips: “You may kiss me.”
6) Hands clasped together holding an open fan: “Forgive me.”
7) Covering the left ear with an open fan: “Do not betray our secret.”
8) Hiding the eyes behind an open fan: “I love you.”
9) Shutting a fully opened fan slowly: “I promise to marry you.”
10) Drawing the fan accross the eyes: “I am sorry.”
11) Touching the finger to the tip of the fan: “I wish to speak with you.”
12) Letting the fan rest on the right cheek: “Yes.”
13) Letting the fan rest on the left cheek: “No.”
14) Opening and closing the fan several times: “You are cruel”
15) Dropping the fan: “We will be friends.”

For the complete “Language of Fans” visit cavecreekmuseum.org/archives/1704.

Cave Creek Museum is a 501(3)c organization. Through your generosity and that of others, the museum is able to fulfill its mission. Call 480.488.2764, email info@cavecreekmuseum.com or donate online at www.cavecreekmuseum.org/donate-2. Located at the corner of Basin & Skyline off Cave Creek Rd. in Cave Creek.