Chang Son paper fan making village

Making paper fans dates back hundreds of years in Chang Son village, about 30 kilometers from Hanoi. Since the 19th century, Chang Son fans have been famous at home and abroad. The French colonialists used to exhibit Chang Son fans in Paris.

Chang Son village, located in the Chang Son commune of Thach That district, has long been known as the most famous paper fan craft village.

Chang Son fans come in a variety of patterns, designs, and sizes. They are designed for everyday use, special occasions, and decoration. All have a gentle beauty due to decorative patterns depicting Vietnamese scenery, fairy tales, poems, or parallel sentences.

According to Mr. Duong Van Mo, a village artisan, "Luxury fans are decorative fans that can be given as gifts." Bamboo is used to make the sticks. A stick is made up of two splints pressed together. As a result, these fans are referred to as combination fans. The fans' spines are made of bone or horn. The fan's painting, paper, and silk should have artistic patterns of foliage or supernatural creatures. The foliage on Chang Son fans is more typical than on other villages' products. They are meticulously sculpted. Fans made in Chang Son are used by art troupes that perform traditional operetta, classical drama, or traditional dance.”

Fan-making necessitates dexterity and attention to detail. A master craftsperson must select the best bamboo for the sticks, the best rattan for the lacing, and the best paper for the leaves. The bamboo must be pliable and at least three years old. It is soaked in water for about six months to keep termites and mould at bay.

The rattan fiber should be smooth and long, with as few knots as possible in the finished fan.

Chang Son artisans make their fans out of traditional poonah paper from Dong Ho, a folk painting village in Bac Ninh province.

One of the most difficult steps is to adhere the paper and fan frames together so that the paper does not crumple, even when the fan is folded, and the fan can be opened and closed more easily later. Finally, a layer of lacquer is applied to the fan to keep it shiny, durable, and beautiful.

The way people make paper fans today is vastly different from how they did in the past. Chang Son's paper fans are well-known not only in China, but also in Japan and South Korea, and come in a variety of styles and colors.

In addition to paper fans, artisans in Chang Son make bamboo, rattan, and silk fans in a variety of sizes. Notably, many picture fans can reach a few meters in length, whereas silk fans are frequently used by art troupes, at festivals, or as souvenirs for tourists.


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