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Folding Fan (扇 / Ougi)

http://image.shoppingfeed.jp/r/rob/robochris.nm/orig/712388.jpg http://image.shoppingfeed.jp/r/rob/robochris.nm/orig/712386.jpg
(Folding Fan (扇 / Ougi) / Image)

Ougi was invented around the 8th century in Japan. According to one theory, the origin of Ougi was mokkan (wooden slats) combined together with a string running through the hole made on the slats. Ougi was used not only for fanning but also used as a tool for rituals, gift-giving and communication.
http://isw3.naist.jp/IS/Kawabata-lab/m-ishibashi/img/product/tool/goods/ougi.jpg

It is written in The Tale of Genji or other literary works and history records that noblemen in the Heian period (794-1192) wrote waka (poems) or put flowers on Ougi and present it to their loved ones. Among the warrior class, Ougi was considered to be as important as the swords.
http://isw3.naist.jp/IS/Kawabata-lab/m-ishibashi/img/product/tool/goods/ougi05.jpg

As Ougi can be folded compactly, it was highly esteemed and spread to the Western countries via China. It is said that Ougi was all the mode in Paris in the 17th century and there were more than 150 Ougi shops there. As the spread shape of Ougi looks like a Japanese Kanji that means “eight” and since in Japan the number eight is considered to be a lucky number, it is also used as a return present at felicitous events.

By TS on Dec 8, 2011
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tag : Cool_Japan

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