The face is there and then it’s gone. The imploring eyes of a beauty mysteriously hide and threaten to never again reemerge, until…
Such is the enchanting beauty of the Chinese fan. Whether in the folding style or the circular rigid style, the fan has been an accessory deeply intertwined with Chinese history and culture. Its meaning goes far beyond providing cooling relief in the hot summer weather (though it certainly has done a lot of that throughout Chinese history).
Regardless of the season, the fan has come to be associated with the royal court of the Emperor and the lovely court ladies who wielded them. Over the dynasties, fans also gained a profound artistic history, serving as an integral prop for elaborate court dances. They also served as canvases for genteel scholars to inscribe poems and paintings.
The imperial mystique of the fan can be seen in the words of Tang Dynasty poet, Du Fu, who wrote the following in one 8th century poem that describes a morning scene in the capital:
Amid the mist, the pheasant tails awaken,
Fans within the Royal Palace open,
Beaming sun surrounds the dragon scales,
The Emperor’s face, the morning light unveils.
The fan played such a large role in ancient Chinese culture that it was even used as a weapon! Chinese and Japanese cultures both developed “war fans” for use in warfare. Today, Shen Yun also makes use of the rich culture of the Chinese fan. Both male and female dances—portraying scholars and court ladies, respectively—are often performed by Shen Yun.
Now you can be a part of the long and illustrious tradition of the Chinese fan with our fan-shaped necklace earrings, which come in gold or silver.
By Evan Mantyk, Contributing Writer