Sultán style fan with exposed ribs

Gender and social class

Gender and clothing

Gender and space


The fan has moved beyond the social and courtly use of its 16th-century origins to become an everyday object. However, it was intimately linked with a pre-established language. The mourning or widow’s fan had shifted from its flirtatious use to be paired with mourning clothes, both at funerals and during the long periods of mourning kept in Spain in the past, when mourning held sway over life, especially that of women, for an extremely long period of time. In this environment, the woman dressed for mourning, she did herself up for mourning, and all of her outfits and accessories, which included the fan, were adapted for these purposes. In such a context, the fan lost the festive use which had normally been attributed to it.