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made in China

Postcard of Fan.
© National Museums Scotland


This paper leaf fan was made in China in the mid 19th century. It is painted with a court scene on both sides.

The fan has gilt metal guards and sticks of wood, stained bone, ivory, mother-of-pearl and blue enamelled metal filigree. The figures in the court scene have applied ivory for faces.

The Portuguese traders of the 15th century were probably the first to bring oriental fans to Europe in any great numbers. By the end of the 17th century, vast quantities of Chinese fans were reaching Europe. Fans ranged in size according to fashion. From 1800-30 they had a radius of 8 inches. During the Victorian period this rose to more than 20 inches. After about 1900, the use of the fan in Europe began to die out.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-000-055-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0504: National Museums Scotland Part 2
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  A.1983.1311 A
Date: Mid 19th century
Material: Black lacquer lined in bright pink silk
Dimensions: 325 mm L
What: Box, fan
ICOM Number: 8
Subject: European Costume : accessories : fans
Where: China
Description: Rectangular box of black lacquer, lined in bright pink silk, to hold a fan: Chinese, mid 19th century
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