THE LANGUAGE OF THE FAN
Many people ask to me to tell them about the “language of the fan”: if it has really existed, and how it is put in effect, I mean how the fan was moved...
So,I can answer that yes, the role of the fan is not only for cooling, or as a fly-swatter or fire-bellows: it was also the supreme instrument of silent communication.
To this intention I would like to make a rightful precise statement to answer some articles appeared here and there in the web; the world of study and collect fans is a complex place, which instigates protagonism and yearning to demonstrate knowledges that are not often owned. With this small parenthesis I report me to the specific matter of the language of the fan, because it seems that lately has become of fundamental importance to wonder ourselves how much its existence is to consider realistic. Personally I believe that in the study of the history of the art and the antiquities the knots to be loosened are well more complexes. Lift the minds treating also lighter arguments is desirable, sometimes!To be convinced that this code of exchange informations dictated by the movements of the fan has really been adopted it doesn't mean to get soiled ourselves some crime to attribute tales credibility from children of the elementary schools: it means rather to study with humility ancient texts that talked to abundance of details of it. Before, however, to declare that this “language” has been encoded, there is to set the accent on the meaning of the word “to codify”: if for this we intend a group of an about ten of “signs” known by the dames of the XVIII century (and also from the gentlemen), then I am certain that yes, after all it can be talked of codification coeval to its birth. If we want to report us to the myriads of gesture lists appeared in the XIX century instead, often different among them, we can say that it is a codification “a posteriori”, often emphasized by the romantic mentality of the epoch, as well as from advertising intents “ante litteram”.
Sir Richard Steele, in the “Tatler” of 4 August 1709, wrote:
“You may observe in all public Assemblies the sexes seems to separate themselves and to attack each other with eye-shot, that is the time when the fan, which is the armour of woman, is of most use in her defence, for our minds are constructed by the waving of that little instrument, and our thoughts appear in composure or agitation according to the motion of it.”
There is an infinite variety of motion to be made use of in the flutter of a fan.
Here some exemples:
CARRYING IN THE RIGHT HAND You are too willing
CARRYING IN THE LEFT HAND, OPEN Come and talk to me
CARRYING IN THE RIGHT HAND IN FRONT OF THE FACE Follow me
CARRYING IN THE LEFT HAND IN FRONT OF THE FACE Desirous for acquaintance
CLASPING THE HANDS UNDER THE OPEN FAN Forgive me,I pray you
COVER THE LEFT EAR WITH THE OPEN FAN Do not betray our secret
DRAWING THROUGH THE HAND I hate you
DRAWING ACROSS THE CHEEK I love you
DRAWING ACROSS THE EYES I am sorry
DRAWING ACROSS THE FOREHEAD You have changed
DROPPING THE FAN We will be friends
FANNING SLOWLY I am married
FANNING QUICKLY I am engaged
GAZING PENSIVELY AT THE SHUT FAN Why do you misunderstand me?
LETTING IT REST ON THE RIGHT CHEEK Yes
LETTING IT REST ON THE LEFT CHEEK No
PLACING BEHIND THE HEAD Do not forget me
WITH THE LITTLE FINGER EXTENDED Goodbye
OPEN AND SHUT You are cruel
OPEN WIDE Wait for me
PLACING IT ON THE LEFT EAR I wish to get rid of you
PRESENTED SHUT Do you love me?
PRESENTING A NUMBER OF STCKS, FAN APART, OPENED At what hour?
SHUT FULLY-OPENED FAN VERY SLOWLY I promise to marry you
SHUT FAN HELD TO THE HEART You have won my love
SHUT FAN RESTING ON THE RIGHT EYE When may I be allowed to see you?
THREATEN WITH THE SHUT FAN Do not be so imprudent
TOUCHING THE UNFOLDED FAN IN THE ACT OF WAVING I long always to be near you
TOUCHING TIP WITH FINGER I wish to speak to you
TWIRLING IN THE LEFT HAND I love an other
WITH HANDLE TO LIPS Kiss me
|The swan skin in the fans||Genealogia Gabrielle Zaborowska||