MORRISTOWN, NJ — This September, the Morris Museum will present an exhibition celebrating the art and history of the handheld fan. Drawn entirely from the Museum’s permanent collection, ‘The Language of Fans’ will showcase over forty notable works. The exhibition will be on view from September 3 to December 6, 2015.

With a history stretching back more than 4000 years, the handheld fan has served functional, ceremonial and decorative purposes. This elegant art form has been used in religious rituals, expressed romantic sentiment, conveyed status and wealth, and served as an advertising medium. Perhaps the most enduring role of the handheld fan is as a symbol of wealth or royalty, which began during the ancient civilizations of Egypt and Babylon and continues in the twenty-first century.

‘The Language of Fans’ will be drawn entirely from the collection of the Morris Museum. Featuring dozens of works from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day, the installation will include stylish examples from the United States, Europe, and Asia. The exhibition will be enhanced with several period costumes from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to place these essential fashion accessories in the cultural context in which they were used.

 “We are delighted to showcase the artistry of this elegant collection of handheld fans,” said Linda Moore, Executive Director of the Morris Museum. “Many of these exquisite objects have never before been exhibited.”