Monday, 10 August 2009

Day 88 Pt 4- Fair Feathered Fan

If you are building a Maharajah's Palace, there are a few iconic items which are almost inevitable. One of them has to be the tall feather fan.

The following is an excerpt from Chapter 33 of "Accessories Of Dress" by Katherine Morris Lester and Bess Viola Oerke:

The fan, like the sunshade, originated in tropical countries. Here it was in daily service as a protection against the sun, as a means of cooling the air, driving away bothers insects and, when necessary, fanning the fire into a flame. In the Far East the fan was extensively employed in the service of religion, but its use as a costume accessory also dates back to remote antiquity. Some authorities state that the fan was known in China three thousand years ago. The Egyptians, Assyrians, Persians, Hebrews, Chinese, Japanese, and the people of India used fans as far back as their records of history go.

Among Eastern potentates, the fan was a badge of rank. The dignity of these rulers required that their fans be carried by slaves or attendants. The ancient form of the fan is therefore pictured with a long handle, and resembles a standard. Figure 529 A wall painting at Thebes pictures twenty-three sons of Rameses the Great in a procession, each carrying a ceremonial fan of semicircular shape attached to a long staff. The office of fan bearer to an Egyptian king was one of high honor, one to which only princes and other sons of the highest nobility could aspire. Figure 529. These attendants served standing at the right and left of the monarch as he sat in state; they attended him when he rode forth and during ceremonies in the temple. When not serving in the capacity of the fan bearer, they waited upon the king as members of his staff or in some other service of distinction.
In india, a fan made of swan and peacock feathers is a symbol of status and so I decided I will have to make one too.

I found my swan and peacock feather and some decorative wild grass I picked from the park behind my house.

I used an old chopstick for the handle. First thing I did was to spray paint the wild grass "French Blue". I also added some glitter to the peacock feather which I had removed from a cheap Venetian mask I bought for a costume party.

A little side note: peacock feathers can be bought quite cheaply in Little India, 50-70 cents per stalk. Hunting a peacock for its feathers is illegal in India and the feathers can be sold only if shed from the birds, which they apparently do very regularly. Peacock feathers are considered auspicious and "protective" here.

This project was time consuming because feathers are very difficult to handle with sticky agent since they bunch up and stain very easily.) I used double sided tape, spray adhesive (big mistake!), and little bits of wood glue for the part around the handle.

As you can see from the 3rd picture on the left, it wasn't easy.

Each time I make a mistake with the glue, I just kept adding feathers (my poor feather duster is very bald at one spot). It was a frustrating exercise and often, I would throw it down and go to sleep only to come back to it again.

Just yesterday, I wanted to junk the fan and thought, finally, my 1st piece of work that I will trash. Well, I am obviously still gutless when it comes to "rubbish". So this is what I did with it.

I realise that the fan is not spreading properly because the back is floppy so I added a "fan" of 8 toothpicks (painted) to give the back feathers some support and a frame (see top pic 2). I then cut and shaped the edges to round it so that maybe my fan will look more "regal" . I also changed the decorative head of the handle by using a more suitable earring.

The final result is a 11 1/2" tall feather fan spanning 5 1/2" at its widest. Huge by 1:12 standard but a rather effective flywhisk (for me) and

Tara really enjoys it because it is very "breezy". Even her heavy gold pearls were flip-flopping on her chest from the wave of wind the fan generates..OR maybe it's not the fan

but the fan bearer.

Prince Raj!!? Fanning like a slavegirl?? Could Tara be dreaming? Or perhaps, he had just sat on the magic wedding chair. A rare sight and one to behold..

By the way, have you heard of this title : Fan-bearer on the Right Side of the King sometimes also translated as Fanbearer on the King's Right Hand? Apparently in Ancient Egypt, only princes are allowed to be fan bearers and if you are standing on the right side of the King, then you are the heir apparent, the most trusted, the closest to the King.

I just noticed that I didn't place Raj on Tara's right. Interesting...


rosanna said...

It's huge but supposedly it must be to become a Queen. It's beautiful anyway, you have done a good job on a tricky path: feathers ARE annoying. Did you not go out for National Day? do not work too much on dolls ( as I do with my stitchings). Hugs

Sans said...

How do you know I have been working on dolls ??! You have infra eyes, Rosanna :). Yesterday was National Day and yes, I went out. Bought my Dremel 300 (exciting!!!) and watched GI Joe (yawn..)Today is also a holiday, woohoo! So spending it with my dolls :).

Liberty Biberty said...

Very nice work my friend but I should warn you that in my part of the world peacock feathers inside your house are said to bring bad luck!!!
Of course the Prince is enchanted by Tara's beauty...

Sans said...

Hey Mercedes, I read about that too. This is what it says on this website called

"However in the early part of the 20th-century in the West, it was considered very bad luck to keep them in the home.

One silly explanation for this superstition is that it was promoted intentionally to prevent people from eating this large, delicious member of the pheasant family. In that way, the bird would be protected from extinction, for many people thought it was rare -- a quintessential rara avis.

The reason for the superstition has more to do with the eye-like markings at the tips of the feathers which, around the Mediterranean, recall the dreaded "evil eye"-- the ever watchful and envious glance of the she-demon, Lilith. She was blamed for otherwise inexplicable deaths of infants, among other misfortunes."

Maybe I should have tossed the fan after all! lol

rosanna said...

It's the same over here but I did not want to worry you.Bad luck is nothing you'd want in your house.Hugs
Yet they are ssooooo beautiful that I'd not care!

Katie said...

It's beautiful Sans!!! Love the little detail in it! And I dunno how I missed it before, but your Tara doll is perfect!! Now that I've seen the movie a million times, I reconize her!! :) I think she is day dreaming, hahaha...and what a dream!!! :)

Caseymini said...

Beautiful work Sans. Don't let old superstitions come into play. We all wish you "Good Luck!". The palace is coming along nicely!

Sumaiya Mehreen said...

The fan is truly beautiful! By the way, it seems that Tara's necklace has come could try a dab of beading glue to put the necklace back in place...

Ara said...

This is beautiful Sans... The french blue was a great color to add to the whole thing. My grandparents actually raise peacocks in their backyard (they have an albino one too) and so now I am thinking I will scan the ground for some fallen feathers... I think the addamses would like a pretty fan for their living room...hmmmmm....

Pubdoll said...

Can I say I'm a big fan of your big fan :-) The fan is really lovely, beautiful work again Sans!
And when it comes to bad luck, I think you must have used it all up, with all the problems you had making the fan!

Sans said...

Dear Rosanna & Casey, I have had this peacock feather stuck on my dressing table window for years! If it brought bad luck, I am used to it :) but no, I am from the East so I believe peacock feathers bring good luck and the 3rd eye is protective. My dolls do too, especially the Rollas :).

Ara, do let me know how often they shed. I am curious too. I have seen an albino peacock on the net and I think it is one of the most beautiful birds in the world, better than a male peacock.

Sans said...

Katie, I feel really connected with you because you have watched Kama Sutra a million times, like me. lol. My Tara is made by Sumaiya :). I too think she's dreaming.

Helene, thank you :). My fortune teller says my path to success is paved with hard work and little hurdles of errors. No fortune of mine will be made with luck. But I like to think I have luck on my side when it comes to mini making because I have you guys

Sans said...

Hey Sumaiya, thanks for pointing it out! No wonder! I was just wondering why you have placed 2 rather strategic looking embellishment on Tara's you know where. I didn't even realise her necklace has come off. Hmm, gotta go get the right glue. I don't think I can remove the old one without destroying her dress.

Texas Belle said...

Fabulous work! Sometimes, when you post things you've made - like this fan - I get so inspired and start thinking creatively about whether there's any way I could incorporate something similar into my house. Maybe I'll make a smaller hand-held one. Those southern belles needed something to beat the heat, after all!

Also, with the addition of those toothpicks, it seems the fan could now be used both for cooling and as a surprise weapon, lol!

Sans said...

Belle, you got me laughing so hard but I liked that very much. A secret toothpick weapon is very much in Tara's character. LOL.

When I was researching the fan, I found this great chapter from a book called Accessories for Dress. Cut and paste this link :

You can read Chapter 33 online. It is devoted entirely to fans and hand held ones too with loads of pictures. Any southern belle worth her accent will want one. I hope you will change your mind about dolls :) and have them around your beautiful mansion. Imagine the fabulous costumes and accessories..oooooh..and those frilly underwear!!

Snowfern said...

oh wow. i always am pleasantly surprised by the amount of research that goes into each piece of work you make.

"but a rather effective flywhisk (for me)" this sent me into a laughing fit > <


can't wait to see it in person! :O

Sans said...

Hi Cindy, research is a big part of my love for miniatures. Thanks to that, I take very long to make 1 tiny thing! Which brings me to our will take a teeny wee bit longer than next week, my dear but like I said on your post, you will meet Chris, Mr Treewiz as well :) so it will be fun.

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