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Fan has more than three thousand year history in China. In its early days fan was used as an ornament rather than fanning for cool. In Zhou Dynasty emperor and empress¡¯ vehicles were equipped with fans to shield protectig from wind and dust, which was called shielding fan. Thereafter big shielding fan was used in the guard of honor of emperor and high rank officials to show power and prestige. According to ¡° Gu Jin Zhu¡± the earliest fan was made from pheasant tail with long handle to be used as an ornament carried by the guard of honor, shielding off the Sun and dust. After Han Dynasty Bamboo fan in Hunan province and Silk fan in Shandong province were widely used as a cooling tool meanwhile it gradually became a kind of ornament. During that time a famous art craftsman had ever made a 7 wheel fan which was operated by one person and could cool the whole room. Therefore it might be the origin of ceiling fan and table fan in our modern life.

Worldwide fan has its interesting stories. In ancient Egypt fan was taller than man and was made from palm tree leaves. In addition the larger the fan, the more powerful its master. In the 9th century a fine folding fan was invented by Japanese, which was thought as a symbol of luck. In the middle of 16th century folding fan became popular in Europe, just as French writer Volta said, ¡°a woman with a fan was in the same situation as a man without a sword.¡± The first book of Fan research was written by William Kirk in 1797 In this book the fan using by madams was as skillful as flag-wagging by sailor.
With the development of modern science the cooling function of fan is gradually replaced by electric fan and air conditioner. But people will never discard fan for the sake of art collection. In 1981 a group of artists from New York and Milan designed a series of crafts including sofa, cup, vase, which were all shaped as a fan. In 1980 a German made fan, which was made from pearls and decorated by gold, ruby and gems was auctioned at 20,000 SF in Switzerland.
There is a long history in China to write, print and carve in the fan as a craft. In Han Dynasty famous calligrapher Wang Xizhi had wrote in fans for a fan seller to earn money. Excellent works of drawing fan are as ¡°bamboo and birds¡± by Zhou Zhimian in Qing Dynasty; ¡° Chilly crow in withered tree¡± by Tang Yin; ¡°lurching in Autumn woods¡± by Sheng Zhou; ¡°chrysanthemum fan ¡° by Yun Shouping in Qing Dynasty and ¡° Wu Qing Zhi Bi¡± fan by Wang Wu. Mr. Guo Muoruo had written a poem for a fan producer. The poem begins as ¡°cool world from your hand, wonderful workmanship excelling nature. ¡­¡± Nowadays Chinese fan is well known to the world.
Fan is also a useful tool for actors¡¯ performance at the stage. In many Chinese local opera and performance fan is widely used to express the mood and psychological changes of the actors.


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