Folding fans and Round Fans
Folding fans date back to the Heian period when they were used for the practical purpose of keeping cool, but later they were employed for a diverse range o fpurposes.
Fans were employed in tosenkyo, the fan throwing game, they became symbols on the battlefield, and they also provided a distinct format for calligraphy and painting.
They are vital props for professional storytellers of rakugo, indispensable accessories for the tea ceremony and are used as a form of charm when taking a newborn child to th eshrine of its tutelary god for the first time, or exchanging betrothal gifts.
From games to ceremonies, to practical use, there can be few other items that have continued to be used for such a wide range of purposes, from the ancient past to the present day.
The scope of applications of the fan is amazing, but their use is not confined to Japan; folding fans are also used abroad, and from the fans of the flamenco dancers to the lace fans of the aristocracy, they all originate from Japan.
The design of fans is divided into those for use by men and those for women, while the material used to cover can be either paper or fabric.