As we've said before, the bulk of the space at our Museum of the Month is taken up with temporary exhibitions, the latest of which began last week. The theme is military - yes, you may do a double take if you like. How do fashion accessories possibly tie in with war and battle? Well, put down your preconceptions a while and step over here.
Many early fans were painted by artists like Rubens and Albani, who often took their inspiration from the Ancients. So we get depictions of Alexander the Great in battle and scenes of Biblical warriors, or flattering a ruler by painting him as a hero of antiquity. As we move through the ages and the fan becomes a thing constantly at ladies' sides (and as they get cheaper), they become a way to show support and patriotism - kind of in the way we wear badges. Fans would celebrate victories or national military leaders, or even a caricature of the enemy.
Or what about the fan itself as a weapon? The third photo in our little gallery shows a Japanese dagger hidden in a fan handle. You wouldn't expect that down a dark alley.
The Fan Museum, 12 Crooms Hill Greenwich. The War & Peace exhibition is held in conjunction with Le Cercle de l’Eventail in France. It runs until 28 February 2010, and there's so much material that early next year the Heritage Centre and Royal Artillery in Woolwich will have supporting exhibitions.