“Abanico, the Fan, is a word that has its origin in the Portuguese word Abano. This in turn, derives from “Avannus” which was an instrument used by the Romans to stoke the fire in the kitchens among other utilities.


We can say that it exists in its different modalities since practically always.

Already in prehistoric times, large plant leaves were used to move the air for different purposes.
The fan during Egyptian times was a rather large instrument used in ceremonies and it was used almost exclusively by the Pharaoh or his relatives in special events. It was a symbol of power.
In Greece the priestesses used it to give air to the food and to preserve it better. They were large in size.
The Roman emperor Julius Caesar used to be accompanied by slaves who fanned him to mitigate the heat and insects and also in the women’s rooms, both in Greek and Roman times were the so-called “eunuchs” dedicated to fan them.
If in China it was used for ceremonies, family gatherings, in Japan, on the contrary, the fan was an essential element in everyday life, also in the theater, tea ceremonies and it is even said that those sentenced to death were given one before their execution.


There are references to the fan in Europe since the late Middle Ages. But as a folding fan it is said that it was introduced in the West by the Portuguese who traded with the East.

In Spain, the first mention of the fan is during the reign of Pedro IV of Aragon in the 14th century.

During the 16th century, the Renaissance, the fan enjoys great popularity. Catherine de Medicis introduces them in France during the reign of Henry III, but when they really become more popular is during the court of Kings Louis XIV and Louis XV. Louis XIV and Catherine de Medicis said: “courtship and love are not conceived without their presence”.

Queen Elizabeth I of England said: “A Queen can only accept one gift. The fan”.

We cannot finish this first article about the fan without mentioning that it was also part of the culture of countries like Mexico or Peru.

Today it is a fashion accessory that is used mainly in the south during the summer to quench the heat.

If you want to know more about this wonderful “ingenuity”. Be sure to follow Show Me Sevilla. There will be a second part!

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