Kyoto-style fans are similar to Korean-style fans, in that they have many bamboo sticks inside the fan paper, and have a ‘Sashigara’ structure. With the ‘Sashigara’ structure, the fan side and the handle side of the uchiwa are made separately. As one of Kyoto’s handicrafts, this fan style has attained the summit of delicacy and elegance and its advanced techniques have been passed down firmly for generations. Kyoto-style fans are sometimes called ‘Miyako-uchiwa (capital fans)’ and having been used in the Imperial Palace for a long time, they have always been designed with elegant pictures. The use of fans first spread to Japan from China and Korea, during the Nara period when fans became popular among the aristocracy, not just for cooling oneself, but also for blocking wind and sunlight, as well as hiding one’s face, or just as an accessory. During the Warring States period, they were also used as generals war fans. The handles are made from moso bamboo, Japanese cedar and lacquer, while the faces of the fans are made from Minou, Tosa and Echizen paper. Decorations feature people, landscapes, haiku and waka as motifs, and use techniques from painting, block printing, hand-made dyeing, and carving to express a traditional beauty. Even now, due to the reaffirmation of the concept of “wa”, they are popular if only as decoration.
- Kyoto-style Fans