Love and the Language of the Fan

Works of Art, Medals , Militaria & Furniture Auction 
Friday 16 March @ 10.30pm 
Click here to view the fully illustrated catalogue >>

McTear’s was delighted this week to receive a consignment of fans for our forthcoming March 16th Works of Art auction.

First appearing in pictorial records in circa 3,000 B.C., the fan has a long history and mythology. Used as Ceremonial devices by the Greeks and the Romans and the Chinese associated the fan with ancient figures from literature and mythology, including Zhong Kui – the vanquisher of ghosts. Folding fans, such as those features in this collection, were inspired by fans brought to Europe by traders to China and Japan and the decorative designs seen on European fans even today show the influences of these Oriental beginnings.

One of the most spectacular fans in the collection is the early 20th Century Art Nouveau fan with the elaborate and delicately carved guards and sticks (collectively known as the monture) of shell with floral designs picked out in pinks and greens. The leaf of the fan is even more spectacular. It features a beautiful woman reminiscent of the beauties painted by Alphonse Mucha. She stands in a field of jewel green with birds and dragonflies flitting around her. This fan is finished off by a border of tiny gold sequins. Also in this lot there is a French style fan, the leaf printed with a scene of men, women and children in lavish gardens around a statue of the God of Love, Cupid. These fans can be found in lot 1646 in the March 16th Furniture & Works of Art auction.



In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the fan found a new use as a method of communication between young women of high society and their potential suitors. Many interpretations of the language of the fan exist but to place the fan over your heart indicates ‘You have won my love’ and a fan pressed to the lips signals an invitation to steal a kiss.

With three lots of beautiful fans in the forthcoming auction there are plenty of opportunities to find the perfect fan to signal to your love!

Click here for information on buying or selling at auction, or to receive a complimentary valuation >>  


To view the auction catalogue in full click here >>


McTear’s is Scotland’s only auction house to conduct auctions dedicated to Furniture & Works of Art. This six-weekly auction is run concurrently live online on a platform that attracts six million visitors annually from over 120 countries worldwide.

What's it worth?

Find out what your items are worth by completing our short valuation form - it's free!

Get started

Get the McTear's News!

Sign up for our free newsletters - we'll never pass your details on to third parties. 

Get in touch

Upload images if relevant to your enquiry Add file
Select fileChange Remove