Chinese Fans Art
In China"s big cities, you now rarely see anyone using a traditional fan to keep cool.At home,Fans seem to have given way to electric fans and air-conditioners.
However, in rural areas, the traditional fan is still a popular item. Beyond theirpractical use, they are still used as artistic props in plays, dances and story telling. The fine craftsmanship that goes into the making of fans also guarantees their place as art work in homes and pulic places.
Four major types of fan include the feather fan, Chinese-fan-palm leaf fan, folding fan and silk fan.
As its name suggests,feather fans are made of feathers.Scholars believe it to be the oldest type of Chinese fan. The Chinese character for the word fanin-cludes the word featheras part of the compostion.The feathers from eagles,magpies,cranes, kingfishers and peacocks have all served as feather fan material. Up to the end of the han dynasty about 1,800 years ago, holding a feathere fan was fash-ionable amongst the literati and officials. By the beginning of the eighth century,the feather fan had become a deccoration. The emperor at that time would flank himself with 156 peacock feather fans when he received homage from his ministers. He also sent white feather fans to his ministers to show his favor. A noted poet of the time, Bai Juyi, noce wrote a poem about white feather fans. The translation is to the effect that:
White in natural color,
Round due to proper tailoring,
Soughing like wind in the trees,
And flosting in the air like a crane.
It retains coolness even in summer time,
And produces wind all the year round.
From your hand it brings autumn,
And under your arms it hides like a bright moon.
This poem captures the fondness for feather fans from more than 1,000 years ago.In the Song Dynasty, the 156 peacock feather fans were replaced by an even ore magnificent version of the same idea: four pheasant feather fans with stylized double dragons and phoenixes.
The emperors and their ministers of the Qing Dynasty were fond of hunting. They would often take ferocious vultures with them. This spawned the birth and popularty of the rectangular vulture feather fans amohnst the upper class. They were usually made of sis to nine feathers and could be as long as half a meter.The best of its kind were very expensive.
There are many kinds of fans made of different materials. The following are the major kinds made in China: fans made of bamboo and paper, bone and feather, ivory and carved lacquerware and paper or silk. Fans made of palm tree leaves are both economical and practical and are very popular among the people. And the most precious fans are those made of mother-of-pearls.