Flat Fan Item Number: N3.53 from the MOA: University of British Columbia
Flat fan made of finely-split bamboo flaring out from its attachment point to a long wooden handle painted black. Perimeter of fan is shaped like a double inverted U. The lower edge where the handle is attached is straight and at right angles to handle. Fan is covered with yellow lacquered paper on both sides. The area surrounding the handle on one side is covered with a black paper cut in a floral pattern, and the area immediately surrounding the handle is painted orange. The fan has a narrow edging of black paper. It 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 a rivet.
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 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. 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.