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Kyoto uchiwa - a craftwork of elegant beauty.
Although fans are usually thought of as devices for cooling off with, Kyoto's uchiwa have the air of craftwork. During the Heian Period (794 - 1185) they were used as ceremonial items within the court, and as accessories by the aristocracy and women. With many fans displaying intricate designs, Kyoto uchiwa are pictorial expressions of tradition and culture since the Heian Period. One distinguishing feature of these fans is that the face and the handle are made separately. Bamboo from cold climates is cut into narrow splinters which are then laid out radially in the shape of a fan. Thin paper is laid over the frame. Over this is placed Japanese paper (washi), which is then illustrated or otherwise decorated. The fine lines, the colours and tasteful designs betray the skills and sense of beauty of the artisans who created them. Sukashi-uchiwa, an example of the finest in traditional skills and creativity, belong in the category of fine arts in crafts.

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