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Patrimonio Nacional.- Abanicos

  • Issue date: 09/05/2005
  • Printing Process: Huecograbado
  • Paper: Estucado engomado fosforescente
  • Size of stamp: 70,56 x 49,9 mm. (triangulares)
  • Size of block sheet: 163 x 91,3 mm. (horizontal)
  • Postal value of the stamps: 0,28; 0,53 y 0,78 €
  • Print run: 600.000 hojas bloque
  • Dented: 14 1/4

Fans, apart from providing cool air, have also been used throughout history for transmitting messages, since they allow several forms of language. In fact, the fan can be used to pass a secret code between lovers, friends and old ladies. Each movement has its own meaning. Fans are also a means of artistic creation, and when looking at the three stamps that make up this issue, the beauty and diversity of this craft can be seen.


One of the fans that features in this issue devoted to National Heritage 2005 dates back to the 18th century, with an urban theme depicting a popular scene from Madrid, it belongs to the collection of the Palacio Real de Madrid. The other two belong to the funds of the Palacio Real de Aranjuez. One of them is from the 18th century and is decorated with mythological scenes with nymphs, fawns and cherubs. The other one is from the 19th century and is painted with flowers and garlands. The three of them are folding fans as their framework imitates a bat or “komori”, according to the description of a Japanese manufacturer from the 7th century B.C. They have all the characteristics of the folding fans: leaf, loop, rib, rivet, head, guard and sticks. They were hand-painted by well-known artisans of the time. The folding fan was first seen in Spain in the 16th century where the first fan makers appeared. However in this and the following century the importing of fans from France and Italy was so popular that King Charles II put a limit to it in 1679. We know that in the 17th century there were many artisan fan makers, but it was Valencia which became the main centre of production. In 1802 the Royal Fan Manufacturer was set up in this city. From then on the big production centres were located in Valencia, Aldaya and Godella. Besides their use for cooling, fans are fragile instruments, an essential part of the ladies´ outfit. A symbol of distinction and elegance, it was used for flirting and seduction and was very popular amongst royals and aristocrats. They were in use mainly in the 17th and 18th century and, although nowadays they have become collectors items, they are still used for cooling.

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