Accessories for Flamenco

Accessories for flamenco infographic - abanico - manton de manila - castañuelas - baston |

I have talked about the accessories used in flamenco dance before but I thought it would be fun to make an infographic with a little information about each one. If you click on the image to the right you can look at it full size. 


The history of the flamenco dress dates back to the nineteenth century when Andalusian women wore dresses to accompany the livestock traders who attended the Feria de Abril in Seville. 

Many of the early accessories are still used by dancers today. The fan is used by women when dancing particularly feminine and flirtatious dances such as Guajira or Caracoles. 

Manton de Manila

Although the manton takes its name from Manila after the Manila Galleon trade which started in 1565, the manton (silk shawl) actually originated in China.  

The Manila Galleons were Spanish trading ships.These ships brought silks, ivory, furniture, porcelain, lacquerware, and spices from Canton, China to Manila 

The silk shawl was one of the items that came from Canton to Spain and the women of Seville soon made the shawl their own asking that the embroidery be changed to suit their tastes and that long fringes be added to the silk square so that the fringe would move and call attention to the wearer.


Castañuelas are a long established percussion instrument consisting of a pair of concave wooden shells joined on one edge by a string. The name castañuelas is derived from the word castaña the spanish word for chestnut which was the wood traditionally used to make the instrument.

Each castañuela has a different pitch. One lower, called the macho is held in the left hand and one higher, called hembra held in the right. Traditionally castañuelas were not used in flamenco but as part of the regional folkloric dances. The flamenco name for castanets is palillos.  


Similar to the abanico and the manton de manila the bastón was carried by many Spanish men as an item of fashion. The bastón was used by many singers to mark the compás during a performance and by dancers to add an element of complexity to their percusive footwork. 

The bastón is often used when dancing a Martinete. A dancer very famous for using the bastón is Manolete.

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