Child's Flat Fan Item Number: Ed1.182 from the MOA: University of British Columbia
A small flat inverted u-shaped fan on a frame of very fine split bamboo radiating from the handle at the centre of the flat edge. Both sides are covered with paper, and are lacquered in red, green, black, and yellow with a red panel at the top, and a triple swirl pattern in yellow, red, and green at the centre. There is a black design resembling a paper cut near the handle area. Handle is straight, painted red, and split where the fan is inserted.
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.
Such fans are still made and used at present.
The three swirls represent the “Tae-guk” symbol on the Korean flag, which stands for harmony. The rounded shape of the handle where the fan is inserted represents a peach, symbol of long life.
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. Pieces of coloured paper were then adhered on the surfaces to form the designs. 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 like sesame seed oil, or lacquered. A paper edging was applied. Then the fan was inserted into the handle and riveted in place.