Folding Fans

fan with bamboo slats and paper with hand painted tree branch with blossoms
Bamboo and paper fan used to decorate the Nakayama home in Coaldale, Alberta ca 1950-1960
Galt Museum & Archives P19970041114

The folding fan is a Japanese invention. Originally it was purely functional but it later became important in Japanese etiquette and dancing. The first folding fans consisted just of thin sticks of Japanese cypress wood held together by ribbons. It was only later the sticks were covered with silk or paper.

The most popular types of designs were handwritten poems, artistically executed kanji characters and various painted patterns, landscapes and portraits.

Additional information for this item is available on the Government of Canada Artefacts Canada - folding fan (external link) website.