CULTURE

Uchiwa Japanese Hand Fans

2013.06.05 [CULTURE]

Uchiwa Japanese Hand Fans

Uchiwa are the popular and common flat and ridged hand held Japanese fans made primarily
of paper on a bamboo frame. Silk was sometimes used in more elegant versions of the uchiwa
hand fan, believed to have been influenced by Chinese design.

 

 

 

 

Often the traditional fans were beautifully decorated with a simple art work or design.
Although traditional, hand made uchiwa fans remain popular, modern day uchiwa fans are
often mass produced from paper on plastic frames with advertising for local businesses,
products or festivals printed on them. Popular motifs for the uchiwa include designs portraying
cooling streams or breezes, bamboo leaves, goldfish and fireworks.

 

 

Apart from being used to cool or refresh oneself on a hot and humid Japanese summer day,
the fans were often used in the kitchen to create airflow when starting the kitchen cooking fires
and during the cooking process to regulate temperatures. Adaptations of the simple fans were
also used by samurai armies to direct troop movements in battle. Today, the fans remain popular
and are often seen tucked into the back of an obi sash around a summer yukata.

 


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