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Kyo Sensu : Japanese Fan made in Kyoto


Today’s blog is all about the beauty of Japanese fan made inKyoto.

The original form of Japanese fan appeared approximately 1200 years ago, in Heian period. Japanese fans are called “Hi Ougi (Hi means Japanese cypress)”, made by piling up thin, long pieces of wood. Later, in middle of Heian period, people started to cover the thinner pieces with papers. Ougi currently means this paper-covering fans.

People used those Japanese fans to send wind, but Kyo Sensu, Japanese fan made in Kyoto, was rather used for courtesy, specifically as the symbol of aristocracy. They were painted, or covered by bright materials such as isinglass to give noble people additional gorgeousness.

Following the rise of samurai lank this kind of lifestyle was adopted to the art of Noh and tea ceremony, and finally became popular among citizens. Some were even exported to China in 13th century, and said to reach to France.

Current Kyo Sensu has bamboo bones which are keenly polished. Very thin Japanese papers are pasted on them (3 pieces, 2 surface pieces and a core piece), and gold leaves are put on for luxurious products. Then beautiful pictures are painted by artists. Sometimes, printed paper are used, too.

Ones with gold leaves, Japanese lacquer, or makie (gold and silver lacquering) are treated as quality articles, but without such things, with beautiful paintings, Kyo Sensu is popular goods for ceremonies such as children’s gala day and weddings.

Kyo Sensu was designated as Traditional Craft by METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) in 1977.

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