Flat Fan Item Number: N3.47 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 of lacquered natural light-coloured wood. Perimeter of fan is circular and scalloped except for the lower edge where the handle is attached, which is straight and at right angles to handle. Fan is covered with yellow lacquered paper on both sides. It is inserted into a split in the handle, which is flat and circular where it covers the fan, which is attached with two rivets.
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.
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.
The rounded shape of the handle where the fan is inserted represents a peach, symbol of long life. The shape of the fan, with its scalloped edges, suggests that it was used by a woman.