dan-sun (Flat Fan)

About this object

History of use

Such fans were made by masters organized into guilds. They were used by people of any class, and of any age. Boys and girls, men and women all used them, although they were used more by women than men. Special small ones were made for children. Members of the official “Yangban” class also used folding fans, as did some women.
The brown colour of this type of fan comes from the oil that was applied. People favour this colour very much.
Flat fans are still made and used at present.

Iconographic meaning

The rounded shape of the handle where the fan is inserted represents a peach, symbol of long life. The large size and simplicity of this fan suggest that it was used by a man.

Specific techniques

Flat fans were made with the following steps. Bamboo was split very thin to form the ribs and then spread evenly on a piece of Korean hand-made paper. Another piece of paper was put over the ribs, adhered with thin rice flour paste. When the paste had dried, the edge of the fan was cut to create its shape. Additional paper was added around the handle. The surface was then oiled with an oil such as sesame seed oil, or lacquered. A paper edging was applied. Then the fan was inserted into the handle and riveted in place.

Physical description

Large flat fan made of finely-split bamboo flaring out from its attachment point to a wooden handle painted black. Bamboo strips are bent downwards near the perimeter of fan, those on each side bending away from centre strip. Perimeter of fan is circular except for the lower edge where the handle is attached, which is straight and at right angles to handle. Fan is covered with brown oiled paper, with a narrow edging in black. The fan is inserted into a split in the handle, which is flat and shaped like a pointed oval where it covers the fan, which is attached with two rivets. The area surrounding the handle is covered on each side with a black paper cut in a floral pattern. The area immediately surrounding the handle is painted orange.