This is a Brisé fan. It is dated late 19th–early 20th century and we acquired it in 1964. Its medium is carved and pierced ivory sticks, peacock and peahen feathers, gilt metal bail, silk tassel. It is a part of the Textiles department.
The dazzling iridescent colors of a peacock’s tail feathers are created without the use of any real pigmentation at all. The colors are caused by light interference, an optical phenomenon produced by micro-structures of the feather which cause the light to refract or bend. Such colors are called “structural colors.”
Our curators have highlighted 5 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:
Its dimensions are
H x W (open, with tassel): 53.3 × 54.6 cm (21 × 21 1/2 in.)
Cite this object as
Brisé Fan; carved and pierced ivory sticks, peacock and peahen feathers, gilt metal bail, silk tassel; H x W (open, with tassel): 53.3 × 54.6 cm (21 × 21 1/2 in.); Gift of Mrs. James M. Breed; 1964-18-1
This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color.