7321 A two-fold paper screen painted in ink and colour on a gold ground with a patchwork of open and closed folding fans scattered in front of a cascading white fuji (wisteria)
Each fan is lavishly decorated with motifs including seasonal flowers, abstract design and famous locations including Uji bridge and Miho-no-Matsubara (Miho pine grove)
Japan 17th century Edo period
Dimensions: H. 67½” x W. 75¼” (171cm x 191cm)
The Japanese have decorated paper folding fans with paintings since at least the twelfth century, and the first folding screens to feature scattered fans appeared in the fifteenth century. A screen ornamented with fans served as a kind of miniature museum, where many paintings could be viewed at the same time.
Fans continue to serve not only a functional role for the Japanese, but also provide an intimate surface for painting and poetry and are the epitome of an elegant accessory.