Culture insider: Chinese paintings on fans

China has been dubbed the “kingdom of fans” for many years. Fans were not always tools for cooling oneself, but also were symbols of status and taste. One main reason is that fans sometimes were decorated with paintings, poems or calligraphy.

There were many kinds of fans in ancient China, though only two types with paintings, the round fan, popular in the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220) and the folding fan, prevalent in the Song Dynasty (960-1279), have grown to be truly appreciated by art collectors. Those that held a famous artist’s painting or calligraphy were highly prized possessions.

An artist from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) named Zhu Yunming once compared the difficulty of painting on the surface of a fan to a girl dancing on debris, because of the fan surface’s limited space, special shape and different textures, such as colored paper, thin silk and so forth.

Now let’s take a closer look at some of the prettiest Chinese fan paintings and feel a cool breeze in the scorching summer.



Fan painting by Yao Yuehua,Flowers in the Vase, Song Dynasty (960-1279). The birth of the round fan was much earlier than those of the folding variety. Its shape, like a full moon, signifies the auspicious union and happiness.

Fan painting by Su Hanchen,The Maid, Song Dynasty(960-1279).
Fan painting by Xu Beihong(1895-1953) ,The Cat
Fan painting by Zhao Yong,Clear River and the Wintry Moon, Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368).
Fan painting by Li Anzhong,Butterflies in the Spring, Song Dynasty(960-1279).
Fan painting by Ma Lin,Hold a Candle for a Night Excursion, Song Dynasty(960-1279).
Fan painting by Zhao Chang,Apricot Flowers, Song Dynasty(960-1279).


About Interact China

“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide” 

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Kungfu Clothing, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.

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