Mourning Fan

This collapsible woman's fan, made from wood and cloth, is painted black to show that the user was in mourning. In the 1800s, regardless of class, most people with families died at home, not in hospitals. There, the deceased would be laid out in a room for friends and relatives to view the body and pay their respects. Family and friends then carried the coffin to the church and to burial.
Description (Spanish)
Este abanico plegable de mujer, hecho de madera y género, está pintado de negro para indicar que quien lo usa está de luto. A lo largo del siglo XIX, sin excepción de clase social, la mayoría de la gente con familia moría en la casa, no en el hospital. Se los acostaba en una sala donde los amigos y familiares podían ver el cuerpo y presentar sus respetos. Luego la familia y los amigos llevaban el ataúd hasta la iglesia y el lugar del entierro.
Currently not on view
Date made
late 19th-early 20th century
Place Made
Puerto Rico
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
paint (overall material)
metal (overall material)
cotton (overall material)
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Teodoro Vidal
Daily Life
Puerto Rico
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Ethnic
Cultures & Communities
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center


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