On a hot day, man made the fan. And the fan was good. And versatile. Although its original raison d'etre may have been to circulate air, the fan has been borrowed, over the years, for a variety of other tasks - to advertise products, to flirt behind, to decorate and to adorn. This kaleidoscope of fans is but a sampling of what Washington shops have to offer:

(Top row from left) An oversized reversible fan (silver on the obverse, gold on the reverse) that's fluttering at discos these days ($8.95 at Ginza, 1006 20th St. NW); a delicate fan of hand-painted silk from the People's Republic of China ($8.95, Ginza); for an artistic accent, a non-folding fan of cotton and bamboo, crafted by California artist Cary Matthews ( $35 at Mamori, 3147 Dumbarton Ave. NW and 237 Pennsylvania Ave. SE); a light balsa wood fan ( $6 at Off the Cuff, 1077 Wisconsin Ave. NW).

(Second row) A cheap, compact fan that folds up into its own handle from Ginza for 95 cents; from Off the Cuff's collection, a miniature fan to hang around the neck ($4.50) and one with an alluring face on one side and a 1928 ad for a coal company on the other ( $5); for a scented breeze, a fan of sandalwood ( $4 at Woodies).

(Bottom row) A batik fan ( $6, Off the Cuff); a fan sewn together from an old kimono scrap, and a traditional Geisha fan ($3.50 and $1.85 at Ginza). CAPTION: Picture, no caption, By Brett Littlehales