Kyoto Folding Fans

Folding fans date back to the beginning of the Heian period (794-1185). It is thought that the first ones were shaped very much like the fans we know today but they were made out of several thin leaves of wood tied together. These fans were called hi-ogi because they were made out of hinoki or Japanese cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa).
Paper and bamboo fans were made and exported to China in the 13th century. These fans found their way to Europe where they became the blue print for western fans. European fans were then imported back into Japan and the silk fan was born.

These small pieces of craftwork are the direct result of great craftsmanship using paper and bamboo, both well tested materials. The beauty of Kyo Sensu is, however, much more than just skin deep. They are also wonderful to hold, have a wonderful texture and are highly practical into the bargain. A number of different fans are made including ones used on formal occasions, ""performers"" fans and some that are purely made for decoration. All new fans should be opened and closed gently until the folds are properly established.


These small crafted objects, made with carefully selected bamboo and paper materials and born out of confident hand movements, possess not only a superficial charm but a variety of charms like their texture, their special flavor, their being goods of a practical nature, etc..

How to make

In the case of general paper fans, decorative elements such as gold leaf, gold dust, printed figures, etc., are applied to the washi paper used for the fan surface which is then creased with the help of a folding mold based on the number of spokes to be used. Next, small fissures are created in the paper for the fan spokes to go through and the middle spoke, to which glued has been attached, is inserted. Finally, the spokes on both ends, called ribs, are glued to the paper.