Twelve fans of Elizabeth
In the 17th century the folding fan, introduced from East Asia, became popular in Europe. In particular, these fans we see in the portraits of the high-born women of the era. And Queen Elizabeth 1st of England used both – folding fans decorated with pom poms on their guard-sticks, as well as the older style rigid fan, usually decorated with feathers and jewels. Meanwhile, these rigid style fans often hung from the skirts of ladies, but of the fans of this era it is only the more exotic folding ones which have survived. In fact, folding fans of this era demonstrated the high status. Besides, exotic items on par with elaborate gloves were perfect gifts to royalty.
By the way, there is a historical anecdote about fans of Queen Elizabeth. She established the rule that the queen of all subjects could receive only one gift – a fan. Thus, she became called the “patron of the fans”.