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07 November 2008

Victorian Fan Language


My favorite part of the movie A Good Woman is when Mrs. Erlynne talks Robert Windemere into purchasing a gorgeous antique fan for his wife for her birthday. She goes through the highlights of the Victorian fan language, and is so charming that she makes everyone want to go out and purchase a fan. Unfortunately, as it turns out, there is very little evidence that anyone in the Victorian period actually used the fan language. Honestly, I still kind of love the idea. The rules seem to vary slightly. Here is one example. My favorite symbols are the ones that seem intuitive. Hiding coyly behind a fluttering fan to mean "we are being watched," uplifting your face and pointing to your lips with your fan "you may kiss me." These signs are most like body language, and would not require gentlemen to learn some complex language.

Image sources on flickr


WendyB said...

Love fans...they're so beautiful.

Anonymous said...

I love that movie, I must have seen it a dozen times. In the Antebelum South they used fans to communicate.