Vintage Japanese Hand Fans Hand Painted With Black Lacquer Box Five Fans
I came across this fan collection during my summer buying trip to the Midwest. I have always been fascinated with fans as they are not just a practical item but were also very much part of the "language" during Victorian times. We speak of body language today, but there was a language that had to do with a lady's fan way back when. So, always intriguing. This is a set of 5 fans, each is hand painted on heavy paper, they have thin bamboo slats. There are 2 of the same seaside depiction that are signed on the left in Japanese characters--these measure 8.5" tall by 15" across when opened and they have a metal finding that holds them together nice and tight, no damage that I see on these. The next fan is the symbol of Japan, the red rising sun and two large Japanese characters on either side with the back side having the wun and many more characters that could be names or whatever and this appears to be signed on the paper of the last slat, also a metal fastener and just a little tanning to the paper here and there with dimensions of 8.5" tall by 15" when opened. The fourth fan is unusual in that the design is very modern, a gilded paint border across the top part of only one section, and another gilded paint border across the bottom of another section, the paper on this fan has a cream colored twig like design and there is a Japanese character signature in red at the left top, the back of this is plain. It has a string fastener with a green glass bead and one tiny light gold color bead that is flat. There is some rubbing wear to the gilded paint for folding the fan in and out. The last fan I am just including if you want it for parts, it is silk with multiple holes and tears but the hand painted design is lovely flowers, and this is the smallest fan 7" by 12" and it is held together with a rubber band. No charge on that one. The case itself is black lacquer with hand painting, a stylized tree on the cover with some flowers in gold paint, the inside of the box has Japanese characters and what may be a signature. There are a few minor scuffs and a little wear of the lacquer at the corners and on the bottom.
Overall, I wish these could talk. I cannot guess the age here but I suspect that they vary as to age. The one with the Japanese rising sun is likely pre- WWII because after that Japanese nationalism was highly frowned upon. This is a great collection and I really wish I knew something about the person who owned it.
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