How do you protect yourself from summer heat? Of course, you can avoid heat at summer resorts or health resorts. Nevertheless, the best way to protect yourself from heat immediately is using cooling equipment. These days, people use fans or air conditioners. But how about using Korean traditional hand fans instead of using common air conditioners or ventilators? A hand fan is intended to provide shade as well as a cooling breeze by making artificial wind through shaking it back and forth with your hand. Let’s get acquainted with fan’s types, history, and production methods.
● The Origin of the Hand Fan
The oldest ever hand fan in the World was found in Tutankhamun’s Pyramid in Egypt. It was a fan with ostrich feathers and a golden rod at the base which had been used 3,000 years ago. At the same time, the oldest hand fan in Asia was a lacquer-handled fan that was excavated in Daho-ri, Uichanggun, Gyeongsangnam-do, Korea. This artifact belonged to the early 3rd or 4th Century B.C. Proto-Three Kingdom Period. It had 12 holes that could hold feathers. When the user put feathers into each hole, a beautiful feathery fan was made. Later, leather fans and very precious silk fans were created and given to the establisher of the country during the Goryeo Dynasty. This lead to the modern paper hand fan, which is popular for its durability and light weight.
The Korean traditional hand fan is designed with different blossom patterns. For instance, there are plant-based patterns such as pomegranates, mushrooms, peaches, and lotus and animal patterns which represent wealth and blessings, like a phoenix, bat, and butterfly. In addition, it was typical to write a poem or text on the page of the folding fan. Similarly, it was used as a device for expressing people’s feelings by writing down text on the surface of the hand fan and giving it as a present to acquaintances or friends.
The role of this folding fan was not only to reduce heat, but also to express the speechless conversations through fan gestures. For example, women could not show their true feelings in public if it was improper for the family’s reputation. This fan language was a method of dealing with the strict community’s etiquette for women. On the other hand, Korean and Asian countries' fans are made from materials like bamboo, paper, feather, and silk thread and are beautified with pictures and poems. Besides, Korean fans were divided into different shapes and played a role in bonding through poems and proposals that could not be released to the public.
We can also say the fan was a channel of the conversations that kept people’s secrets implicitly. It was the wisdom of our ancestors to express themselves elegantly and gracefully and the fan was a highly technical work of art.
● Tricks to Differentiate Korean and Foreign Hand Fans!
If you are a fan of Korean hand fans, you must know the differences between Korean and foreign hand fans! In foreign countries such as England, the U.S., and France, people use folding fans which originated from Japanese fans. The folding fan was one of the luxury accessories of the high-society women and it was made from fabric with fried feathers and jewelry on it.
● Are Siblings of Hand Fan Similar to Each Other?
The Korean traditional hand fan is a big fan with feathers. This fan is usually made of colorful bird’s feathers and the handle is candle-shaped with bird feathers. One of the types of hand fans is a round-shaped fan. The property of this fan is its roundish shape and it is called the magpie Taegeukseon. Taegeukson is a fan with a flag symbol in the center and the whole face of the fan divided by an X into four parts colored with red, yellow, and blue on both sides. Another type of fan is a round-shaped fan with special usage and technique. This fan can be opened to 360 degrees and form a whole circle that protects from sunshine and provides shade. In addition, a star-shaped hand fan is one of the luxury fans made of gold and silver with pearls and inlaid gemstones.
● Let’s Make Our Own Hand Made Fan!
We can just buy a beautiful hand fan, but it is worthwhile to make it ourselves since its production method is really simple.
For this, you need sticks, white paper, colorful paper, glue, scissors and some accessories for decoration. First, cut off an arc on white and colorful paper, then attach sticks to it with glue. Next, fold it like an accordion. Finally, attach your favorite accessory, such as a tassel or button for beauty. That’s it! Good job!
These days, a hand fan is used only as a present. More and more people are using air conditioners, but hand fans keep the culture of each nation and cause natural wind that is pure and harmless to the environment. A hand fan has the potential to show off the nation’s beautiful culture worldwide. For these reasons, let’s start using hand fans as representative and fashionable items in our daily lives to overcome the heat!
Yoo Seung-il, Reporter & Shermamatova Aizharkyn, Cub-Reporter