My new fans and mantón de Manila have arrived and I can’t wait to use them in my next show! In this blog post I share a little bit of background information on these two emblematic symbols of Flamenco dance.
The Spanish “abanico”
The Spanish fan does not just help keep you cool during the hot summers of Andalusia (or the Central line in London during the heatwave this summer for that matter!), it’s also an important accessory for Flamenco dances, a beautiful way to decorate (for instance your next Spanish themed party), and during the 19th century women even used it to send secret signals to their suitors! You can read more about this intriguing secret language on the blog of the language website Living Language.
Origins of the mantón de Manila
Here’s a bit of fascinating background on the origins of the mantón de Manila. Manila is the capital of the Philippines, so what does this typical Spanish scarf have to do with South East Asia?
Manila was once part of Spain’s colonial empire and played an important role in Spanish colonial trade. As part of the complex trade system Manila traded with Canton in China, where silk garments were expertly made and traded. When these scarves arrived in southern Spain, where they became very popular, they were wrongly named after Manila and the name stuck.