In ancient times, Chinese used plant leaves or bird feather as a fan to create a breeze in summer. This was the most primitive form of the fan. The first real fan was made back in the era of Yao and Shun thousands of years ago. The fan has constituted an important part of Chinese art and culture since then.
Initially, the fan functioned as a tool to generate a current of air in hot weather or to help start a fire. Now electric fans such as ceiling fans have taken the place. Other functions of the fan remain.
Fans became to catch the attention of ancient Chinese artists unknowingly. Thereafter, a unique fine art gradually took shape in the history of Chinese fine art. Fan art usually includes Chinese calligraphy, paintings, or poems on the sectors. Special skills are needed to write or paint on them subject to different types of fans and different materials used. It’s much more difficult than doing the same thing on a piece of smooth paper. One of the most favorite types among calligraphers is the folded fan with paper sectors.