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Japanese Fans & Accessories

While China and Japan debate the true origins of the handheld fan, it is most commonly believed to have originated in Japan at around 670 to 700 A.D. The Japanese folding fan, called Ogi, is made of paper or silk affixed to a wooden, ivory, or metal skeleton. This skeleton can expand or collapse, hence the “folding fan” name.

Fans, along with other accessories such as hair combs and ornaments, were worn by both men and woman in Japanese society to indicate status. Aristocracy and samurai classes particularly used fans in order to keep cool and even as a writing material. Because of the easily portable form, samurai would write instructions or communicate with one another using folding fans with symbols, colors, or words.


Quick Facts

  • Through Silk Road trade, Europeans were introduced to the Japanese folding fan in the 15th century, which then became a popular decorative art object and accessory
  • Fans were more than just everyday objects for historic Japan, but instead were highly valued and considered suitable gifts for royalty
  • The oldest known surviving Japanese paper folding fan dates back to around the 11th century or 12th century. It was found in the city of Akitsu, Japan

Recommended Items at Auction

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Collection of Japanese Fans
Dec 07, 10:00 AM EST
Collection of Japanese Fans
by Caza Sikes
Est: $100- $200
$501 Bid
Seven Gifts from the Peter Norton Christmas Collection
Dec 04, 10:00 AM CST
Seven Gifts from the Peter Norton Christmas Collection
by New Orleans Auction Galleries
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$9000 Bids
A Japanese Fan
Dec 03, 1:00 PM EST
A Japanese Fan
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $10- $100
$100 Bids
Grand éventail, Japon
Dec 05, 12:00 PM CET
Grand éventail, Japon
by Geneve Encheres
Est: CHF100- CHF150
CHF500 Bids
An iron jingasa. Edo period, 18th/19th century
Dec 09, 11:00 AM CET
An iron jingasa. Edo period, 18th/19th century
by Kunsthaus Lempertz KG
Est: €3,000- €4,000
€2,2000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Japanese Fans & Accessories


New Orleans Auction Galleries

New Orleans Auction Galleries

Kunsthaus Lempertz KG

Kunsthaus Lempertz KG

Raffan Kelaher & Thomas

Raffan Kelaher & Thomas

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Designer Homes of Central Florida