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Fan
Learn Chinese - History and Culture

          Fan
Fan
(shàn zǐ 扇子) is a must in summer. It can drive away summer heat and help bring cooling breeze. Since old ages, the Chinese fan has been carrying artistic and unique national style. China has always been regarded as “the kingdom of fans”. The fan first appeared in China about 3000 years ago, in the Shang (shāng 商) and Zhou (zhōu 周) dynasties. However, the fan in the early period was not used to help bring cooling breeze, but used as the symbol of etiquette. And it was called “the fan of honor”. After the Qin (qín 秦) and Han (hàn 汉) dynasties, the main shapes of fan are square, round and hexagon. The material that used to make fan are mainly silk. Because the silk fans were often used in royal court, people called them “court fan” (gōng shàn 宫扇). During the Tang (táng 唐) and Sui (suí 隋) dynasties, the prevailing fans are the round fan, feather fan, and some paper fans. The folding fan gradually became popular after Song (sòng 宋) Dynasty. In Ming (míng 明) and Qing (qīng 清) dynasties, the home of folding fans are Zhejiang (zhè jiāng 浙江), Suzhou (sū zhōu 苏州) and Sichuan (sì chuān 四川), etc. Then writing poems and the vogue of drawing pictures on the cover of a fan is rising. Then this exquisite skill has been introduced to Europe, and became popular all over the world.

Paper Fan with CalligraphyThere are many kinds of Chinese fan, such as paper fan, silk fan, palm fan, feather fan, bamboo-knitted fan, etc. regarding the shapes of the fan, there are rectangular, round pentagonal, hexagonal and sunflower-shaped fans. However, the most famous fans are the sandalwood fan (tán xiāng shàn 檀香扇), the fire painting fan (huǒ huà shàn 火画扇), the bamboo-knitted fan (zhú sī shàn 竹丝扇)and the silk fan (ling juàn shàn 绫绢扇).

The sandalwood fan is made by sandalwood, which has a natural fragrance. Even after many years, then sandalwood fan is also fragrant. It is very popular with people for its unique craft and style.

Sandalwood FanThe fire painting fan is first produced during the late period of Tongzhi (tóng zhì 同治) in Qing Dynasty. Then the technics of making the fire painting fan was developing. When making the fire painting fans, the workman combines two thin glass fans together and then painting on the fan with a tailor-made pen. The painting is comely, and will never fade. It is a competitive product to collect.


Fire Painting FanThe bamboo-knitted fan, usually called “gong fan”(龚扇), get the fame that as colorful as rosy clouds, and as thin as the wings of cicada. And it is always peach shaped. It is light yellow with delicate cover. It seems as a piece of brocade. With the handle made by ivory or ox bone, and decorated with pendant made from silk, the fan is with surpassing brilliancy.

The silk is commonly used to make the cover of the round fan before the coming of folding fans. And nowadays, it is also used to make the cover of the folding fans. All the fans that with the cover of silk can be called silk fan. The person who holds the silk fan always appears gentle and cultivated.

扇子

Bamboo-knitted Fan      扇子是引风用品,夏令必备之物。中国扇文化有着深厚的文化底蕴,是民族文化的一个组成部分,它与竹文化、佛教文化有着密切关系。历来中国被誉为制扇王国之称。扇子主要材料是:竹、木、纸、扇、象牙、玳瑁、翡翠、飞禽翎毛,其它棕榈叶、槟榔叶、麦秆、蒲草等也能编强或制成各种千姿百态的日用工艺扇、造型优美,构造精制,经能工巧匠精心镂、雕、烫、钻或名人挥毫题诗作画,使扇子艺术身价百倍。

      中国扇文化起源于远古时代,我们的祖先在烈晶炎炎夏季,随手猎取植物叶或禽羽,进行简单加工,用以障日引风,故扇子有障日之称,这便是扇子的初源。
《尔雅》中谈道:“以木曰扉,以苇曰扇。”从这可推测,早期的扇子可能是长方形的苇编物。早期的扇子并非用来纳凉,而是用作统治者礼仪之具,所以又叫“仪仗扇”。我国秦汉以后,扇子的形制主要有方、圆、六角等形,扇子的面料采用丝织的绢素,由于宫中用得多,故又称“宫扇”,隋唐两代,盛行于世的主要是纨扇和羽扇,以及少量的纸扇。宋以后,折扇渐渐流行。明清时期,浙江、苏州、四川等地盛产折扇,题字作画亦兴于此。这一精湛的技艺从明代开始传入欧洲,然后风行世界。

alt      扇子种类繁多,最有名的要数檀香扇、火画扇、竹丝扇和绫绢扇。檀香扇是用檀香木制成,其木质坚硬。白者白檀,皮腐色紫者紫檀,白檀为胜。有天然香味,轻轻摇,馨香四溢。此扇有“扇存香存”的特点,保存十年八载后,扇起来依然幽香阵阵,沁人心脾。夏令既去,藏入衣箱,还有防虫、防蛀的妙用。花式品种有拉花、烫花、雕花、绘画、印花、镶嵌和接骨等。一般经锯片、组装、锼拉、裱画、绘画和上流苏等十多道工序组成。檀香扇以其独特技艺,独具风格,富有工艺性,而至今深受人们的喜爱。

Feather Fan     “火画扇”始创于清代同治末年,后来工艺逐步发展,制作时选薄玻璃扇两柄,合成一柄双面扇,然后用一种特制的火笔作画而成,清秀典丽,永不腿色,是欣赏收藏的精品。

      竹丝扇俗称“龚扇”, 有灿若云锦、薄如蝉翼的美评。扇面多是桃形,形似纨扇,是用细如绢丝的竹丝精心编织而成的。它颜色嫩黄,薄而透光,绵软而细腻,恍若织锦,图案或山水人物,或花鸟虫鱼,无不维妙维肖,加上象牙或者牛骨做的扇柄,丝质扇坠,简直玲珑剔透,精美绝伦,被誉为巧夺天工的国宝。

      绫绢在折扇出现之前就广泛用来制作纨扇扇面,如今也用来作折扇的扇面,凡是用绫绢作扇面的扇子都可以称为绫绢扇。绫绢扇扇面轻如蝉翼、薄如晨雾、色泽光亮,给人以温文尔雅之感。

 

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