The Secret Language of the Spanish Hand Fan (abanico)

Hand fans are an accessory used among all cultures from East to West. From Ancient Egypt, China, Japan, and from England to Spain.

The hand fan reached the heights of it’s splendor in nineteenth century Europe, particularly in Spain. The first hand fan in Spain dates from 1802 in Valencia and quickly became a must have among upper class women. Fans were hand crafted and hand painted with the most delicate motifs depicted on the garment.

The hand fan is not just decoration, it is a trade mark of Spain, and it became part of Spanish culture, and of course, a cheap way to keep cool in the heat. Cheap since the most affordable abanico (hand fan) can be purchased from 2€. However prices can go up to 500€ for really nice pieces and vintage pieces.

The secret language of the Spanish “abanico