What You Need to Know About Hand Fans


Hand fans are not just a beauty status that goes well with that dress. Instead, hand fans are a form of culture carrying with them a lot of detailed history. Everything you need to know about the detail of this work of art is in this read. Folding hand fans have a rich history, so I think it is best if we begin to know more about them from there.

folding hand fans

Origin of folding hand fan

Folding hand fans were first used as far back as the fourth century for cooling during hot weather. And contrary to the common belief these fans did not originate from Asia. Hand fans have roots independent of each other in Europe, East Asia, and Japan. Each of these origins has a great tale to tell, so I have divided, each in its section.

East Asia

The oldest hand fan ever found was discovered in Asia. It was made from bamboo and wasn’t that elegant. But as time went on the Chinese developed a wide array of designs for the hand fans, some even had the appearance of the moon. In spite of the many shapes, the Chinese hand fans the same essential parts. That is the main body of the fan was made from feathers or papers and its handle from bamboo. The paper hand fan was used by scholars in ancient China.

folding hand fans


The modern fan got its design from the Japanese. This origin is the primary reason that the hand fan is associated exclusively with Asia. Another surprising fact is that the Japanese used particular hand fans for battle. More like the ones you see female ninjas use in movies.

folding hand fans


The hand-held fan has been in Europe ever since the fourth century. This can be seen from the art of old clay pots and other paintings. The early church adopted the use of folding hand fans, but instead of using them for cooling, they used them for chasing flies from sanctified bread and wine. This use of hand fans slowly faded away from most of the church. However, some churches have still kept this practice such as the eastern orthodox church and other Ethiopian churches.

folding hand fans

Hand fans in Europe got ‘out of fashion’ for lack of a better term. However, this did not last long as the crusaders from the middle east brought them back to Europe after their visits to China. The hand fans became especially popular in Spain where they were a sign of nobility, and flamenco dancers used them a lot.

folding hand fans


When the hand fan was reduced to Europe, it began to develop a new face. It was a piece of nobility used by the respected women of society like queens. The value given to the fans increased the population’s desire for them which made hand fan production a lucrative business.

Businesses began to experiment with new designs and materials of hand fans in order to stay on top of the competition. This fight for quality started the evolution of the folding hand fans.

folding hand fans

The folding fan in modern society

Post its developments in early Europe; folding hand fans have gone through little change. The only difference worth noticing is the status they held in society. Now the hand fans are not only the tools to cool you off in hot days but also the accessories for you to enhance your look and do say much on how noble on is.

folding hand fans

Bottom line

Folding hand fans have a lot to know about than meets the eye. Plus, I am sure there is a great future for the fans, it just takes a couple of celebrities and designers to bring something new. Similarly to what in early Europe.

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