On a business trip to Ulverstone this week, I stayed at the Moonlight Bay Guest House opposite West Ulverstone Beach. It was a veritable treasure trove with art and collectibles in every room.
This oriental hand painted fan was displayed on one of the bedroom walls.
The Chinese elevated the common fan to an art form. We know that leaves and bird feathers were used as early fans but China gets credit for being the first place where fans were manufactured. King Wu of the Zhou Dynasty (11th century B.C.) is credited as the inventor of the Chinese fan. We believe that the idea for the hand-held Chinese fan came from the umbrellas that were fixed to the top of carriages of the Shang dynasty period (1600 – 1100 B.C.). The oldest Chinese hand-held fan, which was found in the Hubei province in 1982 dates back about 2,300 year ago to the Warring States period.
The Chinese did not invent the folding version of the fan most commonly known. This type of fan, or Zhe Shan, was brought to China from Japan in the 11th century.
The Zhe Shan became popular in China during the Ming dynasty, reaching a peak of popularity during the Qing era (1644-1911). This is the time when the folding fan became known as a symbol of social status. It was also during this time that the culture of using fan gestures as a way to express moods developed.
The most valuable examples of Zhe Shan fans are those which are decorated with art and/or calligraphy.
Taken with Pentax k-r on 27 September 2011 at Ulverstone, Tasmania.
Lens Pentax-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6
Dull and marked wall replaced with colour fill background. Minor adjustments to lighting, wall pins erased and image converted to JPEG for uploading.