Folding fan with Jephthah meeting his daughter

Probably English
c. 1740–1760
more object details

General Description

Wendy and Emery Reves's fan collection was one of their most distinguished areas of collecting and was of particular interest to Wendy Reves. She collected nearly 110 examples dating from the early 18th to the early 20th century. The more than thirty fans now in the Dallas Museum of Art's collection represent the core of her 18th-century holdings.

This fan is probably English and depicts the Old Testament story of Jephthah's daughter. As is traditional, the biblical figure is shown being greeted by his daughter. He recoils in horror because he has just returned from battle, where he swore to sacrifice the first living thing he sees after a safe return.

The fan's verso depicts a rustic couple with flower baskets. The ivory sticks and guards, which are held in place by a rivet holding a paste jewel, are intricately carved and pierced with Asian-style buildings, temples, and fret-work. Such devices were so fashionable as design elements in the 18th century that the term chinoiserie was coined to describe the vogue.

Adapted from

Dallas Museum of Art, Decorative Arts Highlights from the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection (Dallas, Texas: Dallas Museum of Art, 1995), 25 and 38.

Web Resources

Dallas Museum of Art
Read more about the 2007 DMA exhibition A Painting in the Palm of Your Hand.

Fan Association of North America
Watch a demonstration of the language of fans at the 30th Assemblage of the Fan Association of North America.