SOAS University of London

Brunei Gallery, SOAS University of London

Traditions Revised - Japanese Fans from the Ishizumi Family Collection

Birds & Wisteria Flowers (details)

Date: 13 January 2012Time: 10:00 AM

Finishes: 24 March 2012Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: Brunei Gallery Exhibition Rooms

Type of Event: Exhibition

People usually perceive folding fans as simple implements to cool one self while collectors of antique folding fans often see them as purely items of decorative art. This exhibition explores the history of the folding fan some of its traditions and the culture of fans in Japan from everyday items to cool one self to being one of the first multi-functional portable communication devices, a tradition continued in Japan today.

In the first Gallery you will see some examples of what are popularly considered more traditional antique highly decorative art folding fans, alongside these are shown not so widely known examples and images of folding fans whose main purpose was as versatile recording and educational tools used to convey a wide range of information and variety of subjects.  Including political, religious, civil, educational and martial topics, while often still having a decorative not purely functional purpose.

On display in the second Gallery on the Lower Level is a selection of fans produced by a number of contemporary artists from England, Japan and the USA invited to create works specifically as fans. They have produced a variety of designs, some drawing influences from or making reference to more traditional or historical images, while others have used the opportunity to produce pieces of a more contemporary or abstract nature.

One of the aims of this exhibition is to revive the idea of and introduce to a new audience fans as a unique shape and a contemporary easily portable canvas for artistic expression.

The exhibition in the Lower Level Gallery also includes displays illustrating how traditional Japanese fans are made, their construction and the various processes involved in their making from the simple more functional fan to more intricate pieces involving several craftsmen using highly skilled multiple techniques taking over 13 months to produce a single fan.

All of the fans in this exhibition are from the Ishizumi family Collection. Ishizumi & Co. Japan is a Japanese art fan making company established in Kyoto, in 1881 by Kisaburo Ishizumi,I, the company is currently managed by Mr Kanji Ishizumi, a sixth generation Japanese fan maker.

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