The earliest hand held fan, originated in Egypt in 3000 BC, was fixed and mounted in a long shaft. Ancient Egyptians used hand fans
for cooling themselves, winnowing, or for religious ceremonies. Elaborate hand fans symbolized power, royalty and status in the society. Two hand fans were found in the tomb of King Tutankhamen when it was opened: one hand fan was made of ebony with precious stones, while the other one was covered with thick feathers in a golden handle.
Much later, the Chinese made some innovations on the long shafted hand fans
by mounting it on a much shorter handle, which allowed the user to carry it around. They also popularized the half-moon shape hand fan by using bamboo, wood, ivory and silk. The artistic ability and creativity of the Chinese were displayed as the surface of their hand fans were ornamented with feathers or hand painted with various Chinese designs. Aside from being used to cool themselves, swat insects, and as a kung fu weapon, the hand fan symbolized various things including beauty, feminism, royalty, and social status.
Japan made another innovation on the hand fan
by coming up with the first folding fan
in the 8th century BC. The first folding fan was made of thin strips of wood fastened together at one end with a thread or wooden rivet. A piece of silk or paper is pasted on these wooden strips. They also showed their artistry by painting pictures on their folding hand fans, even hiring known artists to do the job. Like the Chinese and Egyptians, the Japanese recognized that hand fans symbolized prestige, royalty and other social standings. Soon after, hand fans gradually spread to Europe and other western countries.
Amidst the advent of countless technology, hand fans did not become obsolete because they had been part of many nations' culture. Hand fans persisted to exude their value. They were still a consistent feature in most of the dances of the Japanese and the Chinese. Aside from being functional, hand fans were used for various purposes: gifts or wedding favors
during weddings; hand fans
are used in Asian home decor
or office decor; hand fans are used as promotional products or gifts.
Our large selection of hand fans includes personalized hand fans
for special occasions or as wedding favors, silk fans
or silk hand fans, paper fans,
and more. We have the largest selection imaginable. You won’t fine a better selection of hand fans anywhere else. In addition, please look through our selection of paper lanterns
and paper parasols
as well. Experience new cultures and customs with our Chinese gifts.
Alexander, Helene. Fans. Shire Publications (March, 2008)