Craft fan refers to a fan produced mainly as artwork with a decorative function. Fans are mainly made of bamboo, wood, paper, silk, ivory, shell, jade and bird feather, in addition to other materials including palm fronds, betel leaves, straw and cattail leaves. These can be woven or produced into various types of exquisite daily craft fans after being pierced, carved, heated, drilled by skillful craftsmen or decorated with a poem or picture by celebrities.
Divided by category, fans mainly include black paper fan, white paper fan, sandalwood fan, silk & bamboo fan, rigid oval fan, screen fan, stage fan, ivory fan and white bone fan.
In terms of structure, a fan usually includes two parts, the circle sector and supporting slat. But for some craft fans, the circle sector and supporting slat are integrated together. In most cases, supporting slat is made of high-quality bamboo, which will be finally made firm and durable through a series of processing procedures. Materials for circle sector vary a lot, including wood, paper, silk and ivory, which will be decorated through carving, embedded ivory, mother of pearl, sandalwood, inlay, carved lacquer, etc. Sandalwood and ivory are frequently used to make integrated craft fans, the circle sector of which will be decorated through carving, piercing, etc.
In China, the most famous craft fan brand is Wangxingji, a renowned brand in Hangzhou. Fans produced by Wangxingji would usually go through nearly a hundred production and decorative procedures, ensuring firm structure, durable quality and exquisite craftsmanship. In addition, the craft fan with embroidery-decorated circle sector in Guilin, Guangxi Province, also seems very exquisite, which has become a work with UNESCO Award of Excellence for Handicrafts. At the moment, there are no national masters specializing in creation of craft fans, but a limited number of provincial arts & crafts masters are found in Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Sichuan and Guangdong who are engaged in craft fan creation.