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Folding fan, known as the Messel Mica Fan

European, late 17th century.

This exceptional folding fan is one of only four of its type still in existence. The leaf is constructed from three tiers of translucent mica (a shiny silicate mineral), mounted between paper strips. The mica panels are gilded and painted. The sticks and guards of this luxury object have been crafted from bone.

Considering its innovative material structure, this fashionable accessory would have been a precious and expensive acquisition for a woman of considerable means.

Purchased with a grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and a gift from the Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum

Cat. no. 131

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