Friday, December 17, 2010

Blowin' In The Wind

Having written just two days ago on the topic of origami - the Japanese art of folding paper - I thought about continuing that theme. So without further ado, here's today's topic: sensu - the folding fan.

While the Japanese aren't claiming to have invented the fan, the rounded fan was introduced via China over 1000 years ago. However, Japan does lay claim to inventing the folding fan sometime between the 6th and 8th century. In a twist, Japan introduced the sensu to China.

It is said that a Japanese monk named Chonen offered the folding fan (consisting of 20 blades) to the Chinese emperor in 988AD. A couple of hundred years later Korean envoys brought sensu to the Chinese emperor (a different one, I hope), which caused a sensation.

Japanese fans - especially during the art-dominated Heian period of 794 to 1185 AD - became very popular.

Sensu fans have a bamboo frame and are covered with paper. Apparently, the greater the number of blades, the higher up in social status one is expected to be. The paper was originally hand-made, and thus of rougher texture. But after Japan's industrial revolution, the paper used was machine-made, and thus smoother. Take a look at the photo above - my fan has 11 blades (because I don't really have much social standing - for me it's more like social sitting... a la sitting on a toilet) and has a machine-made paper covering the blades. The design printed on it depicts Japan's rising sun. Of course, I have absolutely no idea what the heck is written on it.  

ASIDE: The English translation for the country name is Japan, but in the Japanese language (Nihon-go), it is 'Nippon' or 'Nihon'... both of which translate into 'rising sun'... ergo Japan is the land of the rising sun. ASIDE OVER.

Hmmm... I have nothing more to add, so blog over.

Somewhere I have a fan,
Andrew Joseph
Today's blog is by Peter, Paul & Mary:  MARYISHOT

I had no idea.
PS: Oh, and Bob Dylan wrote the song... but this is the best version in my own humble opinion. I mean... its got Mary in it! I need a fan, I'm getting all hot and bothered!

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