As fashion items and objects of desire for their own sake, fans are becoming increasingly rare. Few people seem to use them for decorative purposes either. Yet they are incredibly attractive and each design carries its own history.
In particular, the folding fan is an icon of simple yet effective engineering design which encompasses practicality with beauty.
But in days gone by the fan, in all its guises, meant so much more than merely keeping cool. Its history is a long and intriguing one. The use of decorative, fashionable fans reflects political and social change and, not least, the position of women in society.
And today, with the revival of burlesque dancing, the ostrich fan is making a remarkable come-back.
But where did it all begin?