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Fan is the wind supplies and a summer essential thing. The traditional Chinese fan culture has a profound cultural heritage and it is an integrated part of the Chinese national culture. Chinese Fan Culture is closely related to bamboo culture, Taoist culture, and Confucian culture.China has always been earned the fame of "fan Kingdom".
Initially, fan is a ritual tool of the ruling class in order to demonstrate their status and privileges. A fan used to be a practical thing. With its thin and large area, you can take the cool from waving the fan. Chinese people always the decorative tradition of preferring to impose on everyday objects, so there was carving on handles of fan and painting on the fan. Earlier carving and painting was done by ordinary craftsmen. Gradually, all kinds of talented artists with fantastic imagination began to participate, fans have evolved into a practical function of art. Chinese fans has a deep cultural herital, that is to say, it is closely linked to Chinese culture.
History of Chinese Fan
With over 3,500 years history, Chinese fan was first called "Xun" which was originally made in the Shang Dynasty. At first it was not used to cool, but a ceremonial tool. Gradually, the fan changed from a symbol of status and rights to daily necessities and crafts such as coolness, entertainment, and appreciation.
There were many types of fans in ancient China, but only two kinds of fans, such as Folding fan and Circular fan, were really favored by collectors.
Folding fan, also known as "collected head fan." To use the folding fan is to open the fan and to fold the folding fan is to hold it together. Although folding fan emerged very late, but its importance is enormous. Folding fan is convenient to take and it can be hide in one’s arms and sleeves.In the Tang Dynasty, Chinese silk fans were introduced to Japan. In the Ming Dynasty, Folding Fans were very popular. Fan painting and calligraphy were widely popular and recognized by literati and scholars.
Circular fan emerged earlier than folding fan. As its shape is like a round moon which signifies getting together and good luck, it is also called “meet and enjoy fan”. Because of it’s made of silk fabric, so called "Wan Shan" or "Lo fan."
In the Qing Dynasty, fans were used frequently by literaties and officials. And the fan was not only a tool for cooling, but also a kind of art. Fans were also spreaded from China to Europe and other countries in the world. During the Emperor Qianlong period of the Qing Dynasty, some merchants in Guangzhou
had specialized in the production of ivory folding fans so as to adapt European ladies. The folding fan became a symbol of Chinese culture and a messenger of cultural exchange with the world.
Categories of Chinese Fan
Fire Painting Fan
The fire painting fan was invented in the early time of Qing Dynasty, and then its production process gradually developed. In making the fan, choose two thin glass fans and put them together. Then use a tailor-made fire pen to paint on the fan. The fire painting fan is delicate and pretty which is a good handiwork to collect.
Bamboo fan is mostly peach shaped and its shape is also similar to Wan Shan. It is made of fine silk woven of bamboo carefully. Its color is faint yellow and it is so thin that light can easily penetrates flowers, etc. Along with handle of fan made of ivory or ox bone, silk fan fall, it’s totally a gorgeous treasure.
Feather fan is made of peacocks, cranes, eagles, geese, pheasants and other birds’ feathers and handle of fan. It is not only used for enjoy the cool, decoration and dance, it is also an etiquette exhibit of ancient Chinese palace. Most Chinese feather fan is made of three to four goose feather woven, presented a peach shape.
Use the bamboo skin and lead wire as its skeleton, and then paste up tissue on the skeleton. Most of tissue fans are round shape, so it is also called circular fan. The handle of the fan is made of mottled bamboo, bamboo palm and other valuable bamboos.
Anhui is the birthplace of silk fan and it has 400 years of history. In dealing with silk fabric and printing in the fan, Anhui silk fan adopted a unique way. Silk fan is produced from silk satin fabric, it not only can be used for viewing and collection, but also a special gift to your friends. The production process of silk fan is complicated as silk is softer but tougher than paper.
Sandal wood fan is made of sandal wood which can be divided into sandal and rosewood. However, sandal is better than rosewood in making fan. Sandal has a slightly smell. When you wave the fan, you can smell its fragrance diffuse in the air. After storing for eight or ten years, the sandalwood fan still has a delicate fragrance. When the summer was gone, you can put it in your wardrobe or cabinet because it has the function of moth proofing and insect prevention. Sandalwood fan with its unique artistry, unique style and full of technology, is still very popular till these days.
Local Fans in China
Jiangsu Suzhou Sandalwood Fan, Zhejiang Hangzhou Wangxingji Fan, Chongqing
Rongchang Folding Fan, Sichuan Zigong Gong Fan ,Guangdong Xinhui Kwai Fan and Huzhou Feather Fan are thesix most famous fans in China
, which fan-making techniques have been included in the national intangible cultural heritage list.