Kyo uchiwa fans are believed to have developed after Korean fans brought to Japan by pirates between 1336 and 1392 influenced the designs of the fans used by the Japanese imperial household. These were then brought from Kishuu to Yamato Province, and from there to the Fukakusa area of Kyoto. It is here that Kyo uchiwa fans became established.
As the generations passed, these fans became more and more a ubiquitous element of Kyoto life. Today, new ideas and creative variations continue to be incorporated, producing new items of elegance and beauty that cannot be seen elsewhere in Japan.
The primary point that sets Kyo uchiwa fans apart from others are their embellishments and rich, beautiful designs. However, a more concrete difference is that Kyo fans feature a body inserted into an independently made handle.
The number of spokes varies from 50 to 100, with more spokes indicating a higher class of fan. Those with 100 spokes are considered decorative fans. Bamboo handles are common, but cedar is also employed. The handles of some fans are given a lacquer finish.
1. A bamboo stalk is cut to the right length
2. The cut stalk is split
3. The split pieces are given even width
4. The split pieces are given the correct thickness
5. Fine cuts are made in the top of the pieces
6. The pieces are bent and split along the fibers
7. The resulting spokes are worked to the correct thickness
8. Painting/printing/dyeing/collage etc.
9. The spokes are attached to thin paper
10. The back paper of the fan is attached to the spokes
11. The thin paper is dampened and removed
12. The front is added
13. Definition is added around the spokes
14. Thick paper or cloth is added where the handle will be attached
15. The fan is cut to the correct size
16. The edge is reinforced with narrow paper
A piece of bamboo with cuts in the top is worked from side to side to split it along the lines of the fibers.
The spokes are attached to thin paper with glue. The spokes have a rectangular cross-section, and glue is applied to the narrower edge.
After paper has been attached to both sides of the frame, a thin spatula is used to mark lines in the paper along the spokes.。
The fan is cut to the correct size and shape.
After the spokes have been defined and the correct shape produced, thin paper is stuck along the edge. Once the handle is added, the fan is complete.
|Source: Kyoto Uchiwa Dansen Commercial and Industrial Cooperative|
This company creates a variety of uchiwa fans that appeal to the aesthetic sense of Japanese people. Even within Kyoto they are a famous as a manufacturer of Kyo uchiwa.
"Sha" is a thin gauze. Those designs that feature particularly intricate cut-out patterns are first covered with sha, and then the cut Japanese paper is attached to that. (If the sha were not used, the paper would not hold its shape.)
This method of fan-making is called "shabari."
|"Ura-shabari" is a style whereby the back of the fan is covered in gauze (as opposed to paper). This creates an effect in between those of fans with one open side and fans with both sides open.|
In the special grade of uchiwa fans that feature 100 spokes. Beautiful to look at, so recommended simply as a display item as well as for use.
Size: 36cm x 52cm
With a pattern created from cut paper, and the other areas left open, this fan isn't for creating a cool breeze. Instead, its design is intended to cool simply through being viewed. This concept is a new one, so this is in some ways a Kyo uchiwa for the modern age.
Size: 28cm x 42cm
Borrowing from the popularity of the completely see-through uchiwa fan, these are light and practical. They can be used for decoration, but with Japanese paper on one side they are also well suited to being put to actual use. Hand-made one by one.
Size: 8cm x 42cm
The long handles mean these fans produce a cool, gentle breeze, and their colors have an unmistakable air of Japan to them. Choose your favorite from the variety of designs.