US $270

Sensu – Japanese Fans
Kimono fabrics, Papers – Washi, Chiyogami, Optix, cartridge
Framed Size 640 x 450 mm
What is it?
Sensu are Japanese folding fans.
Fixed fans originally came from China to Japan however the folding fan was invented in Japan between the 6th and 9th centuries.
Fans were used in court and in social settings, usually belonging to aristrocats and the samurai class. They were a status symbol. Laws were introduced to restrict their use to the upper classes.
Fixed fans were used in the military as a way of sending signals on the battlefield and they could conceal a spear. They would have the samurai’s Mon or crest on them for identification.
There are three types of folding fans, timber, paper or silk.
Paper or silk fans are made of one continuous sheet of fabric or paper pleated with timber slats inserted in the pleats. Sometimes there are only slats at each end.
Timber fans have rigid segments riveted together at the bottom and held together at the top by a thread or ribbon.
Originally they were made by tying thin strips of hinoki (or Japanese cypress) together with thread. Later fans were made of, ivorybonemicamother of pearlsandalwood, or tortoise shell, were carved and covered with paper or fabric.
Today, most folding Japanese fans are made of paper on a bamboo frame, usually with a design painted on them.
Fun Facts
  • The number of strips of wood on the fan differed according to the person's rank.
  • The Rikiu Ogi, or tea ceremony fan was said to have been invented in about 1550 for passing little cakes during the tea ceremony and not for actual fanning.
  • Noh and Kabuki theater both use the fan as an important prop. It is used by the actor to accentuate gestures throughout the drama and to indicate to the audience what is taking place.
  • The fan symbolises life to the Japanese, the sticks radiating out from the rivet symbolised the sun’s rays radiating out and supporting life in the form of the leaf.

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