Ancient China for Kids
The ancient Chinese loved fans. The earliest fans were made of feathers. One of the ancient Chinese gods, Zhong-Liquan (the war god), often carried a fan of feathers, although no one knows why. Perhaps he simply liked it.
Over the years, the clever Chinese people made fans from all kinds of materials including straw and wood. For a long time, going way back to Shang times, fans were stiff circle on a stick and used for cooling oneself, by waving it back and forth. Fans truly were piece of art. They were decorated and painted and very beautiful as well as useful in warm weather.
It was not until the Ming Dynasty that the Chinese discovered the art of paper fan folding. The Chinese invented so many things, including. But they did not invent the folded paper fan. That invention arrived from Japan and Korea on the Ming Dynasty ships that wandered the earth in search of treasure.
Once the folding paper fan was introduced into ancient Chinese society, it was immediately adopted. Everyone had to have a folding paper fan. Fans were embroidered and painted and decorated and hung. For a while it was a fad, but it soon became a national activity - nearly everyone made and carried gorgeously decorated folding paper fans.
Fans remained so popular that there are now over 500 types of fans. Fans of all sorts are still wildly popular in China today.