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The Language of the Hand Fan
The Language of the Fan
It seems hand fans have a language all their own. At one time this language was the language of love - and the means of communication with the object of your affection. I've included a list below.
More than just for cooling you!
As far back as I can remember a fan was used for cooling yourself - if you had to sit in a hot room for any length of time - it was quite common to see a woman pull out a simple flat hand fan and start fanning - at which time you would hope to be near her.
When my cousins, Roger and Bryan, visited "Attingham Park" in England, they picked up a brochure to share with me. Among other items of interest in that brochure was the language of the fan.
For me, a pretty fan is no more than pretty decoration on a pretty wall (see photo below of my fan on my colorwashed wall*). I recently visited a friend who wanted to show me something in her bedroom. When she turned on the red (yes, red!) light to show me - what, I don't remember - behind her bed was a wall filled with beautiful fans from all over the world - every kind and every shape - lovely!
The language may be lost but certainly not the beauty of the fans. I must say, I was quite surprised to see the amount of pretty hand fans for sale on the internet as well as the many beautiful books.
Why is this a lost art?
This lost art is forgotten because...some say it is because women carry too much these days to have an extra hand to play with a fan. I think it is mostly due to having A/C everywhere.
When this very pretty Korean hand fan (below) was given to me as a gift I did find it to be quite cooling. Much more so than the flat fans you were once given in a church or funeral home, etc. And, I did not have to turn on the A/C when all I needed was just a bit of cooling.
Well, just in case you decide to turn off your A/C, or get on a hot train or are forced to sit in a hot room, you may decide to open a beautiful fan and start fanning - but just know that you may be sending one of the following messages:
With handle of fan to lips - Kiss me
Twirling it in the left hand - I wish to get rid of you
Drawing it across the right cheek - I love you
Closing it - I wish to speak to you
Fanning slowly - I am married
Letting it rest on right cheek - Yes
Letting it rest on left cheek - No
Open wide - Wait for me
Half opened over face - We are being watched
Fanning fast - I am engaged (one website says fanning fast means 'I love you so much' - perhaps it is the speed, or the body language to go with it)
Resting fan on lips - I don't trust you
Dropping the fan - I belong to you
I was quite surprised to find so much more information about the language of the fan on the internet. It made for fun reading.
*If you'd like to color wash your walls, it can be done beautifully and quite cheaply. See link below!
Korean Fan on Colorwashed Wall
Colorwashing Very Inexpensively
- How to Color Wash Walls as Cheaply as Possible!
If you are ready to redecorate and try your hand at color washing the walls (see the images), it does not have to be expensive. A little paint and a few tips go a long way.