I never gave much thought about a fan. To me it was strictly used to keep one cool in the hot summer months. I did not know a fan was an instrument that was used in a secret language!
Apparently fans have been around since the 6th century in the Far East. The use of fans peaked in Europe during the 18th century adorning both men's and women's fashionable attire. They were elaborately painted and very detailed. Many featured dreamy romantic scences. In the later half of the century women's fans were printed with dance steps, song lyrics and card game rules. How very clever!!! Men's fans had painted bugs, like a beetle or mospuito, on them to distinguish them from women's fans. But the language associated with the fans is even more fascinating.
1. LETTING THE FAN REST ON THE RIGHT CHECK, "YES"
2. LETTING THE FAN REST ON THE LEFT CHECK, "NO"
3. THE FAN PLACED NEAR THE HEART, "YOU HAVE WON MY LOVE"
4. A CLOSED FAN TOUCHING THE RIGHT EYE, "WHEN MAY I BE ALLOWED TO SEE YOU?"
5. HALF-OPENED FAN PRESSED TO THE LIPS, "YOU MAY KISS ME"
6. HIDING THE EYES BEHIND AN OPEN FAN, "I LOVE YOU"
7. SHUTTING A FULLY OPENED FAN SLOWLY, "I PROMISE TO MARRY YOU"
8. DRAWING THE FAN ACROSS THE EYES, " I AM SORRY"
9. THE NUMBER OF STICKS SHOWN ANSWERED THE QUESTION, "AT WHAT HOUR?"
10. COVERING THE LEFT EAR WITH AN OPEN FAN, "DO NOT BETRAY OUR SECRET"
11. PRESENTING THE FAN SHUT, "DO YOU LOVE ME?"
12. TWIRLING THE FAN IN THE LEFT HAND, "WE ARE BEING WATCHED"
13. A FAN IN THE RIGHT HAND IN FRONT OF FACE, "FOLLOW ME"
14. CARRING THE OPEN FAN IN THE RIGHT HAND, "YOU ARE TOO WILLING"
15. OPENING THE FAN WIDE, "WAIT FOR ME"
What a wonderfully covert way to communicate. How flirty and romantic! I know I'll never think of a fan as merely something to use to keep myself cool during the hot summer days.
(information from Amazon Dry Goods)