A hand fan is a beautifully crafted accessory that consists of several distinct parts, each contributing to its functionality and aesthetic appeal. Here's a breakdown of the key components of a traditional folding hand fan:
- Leaf or Blade: The central and most visible part of the fan is the leaf or blade. It's typically made from a thin, flexible material like paper, silk, or fabric. The leaf is often decorated with intricate designs, paintings, embroidery, or other artistic elements. This decorative surface is what catches the eye when the fan is unfurled.
- Ribs or Sticks: The ribs are the framework that supports and holds the leaf of the fan. They are typically made from materials like wood, bone, ivory, or more modern materials such as plastic or metal. Ribs are attached to the leaf and usually radiate out from a central pivot point, allowing the fan to be opened and closed smoothly.
- Pivot or Hinge: This is the point at which the ribs are attached to each other, enabling the fan to be folded and unfolded. The pivot is often adorned with a decorative element, such as a jewel or ornament, adding to the fan's overall aesthetic.
- Guard Sticks: These are the outermost ribs that provide structural support and protection for the edges of the fan when it's closed. Guard sticks help maintain the fan's shape and prevent damage to the delicate leaf.
- Staple: The staple is a small metal or plastic piece that connects the top ends of the ribs to the pivot. It's essential for holding the ribs securely in place and allowing the fan to open and close smoothly.
- Latch or Fastener: Some fans feature a latch or fastener mechanism that holds the fan in the closed position when not in use. This prevents accidental unfolding and keeps the fan compact and portable.
- Handle: The handle is the part of the fan that the user holds. Handles can be made from various materials, including wood, bone, mother-of-pearl, plastic, or metal. They often have decorative carvings, engravings, or inlays that enhance the overall beauty of the fan.
- Tassel: Some fans are adorned with a tassel attached to the bottom end of the pivot. Tassels can add an elegant touch to the fan's design and can be made from silk, thread, or other decorative materials.
- Loop or Cord: On certain fans, a loop or cord is attached to the handle. This loop can be worn around the wrist for easy carrying when the fan is not in use.
- Rivet: The rivet is a small metal piece that holds the pivot and ribs together. It allows the pivot to rotate, enabling the fan to be opened and closed smoothly.
Each of these components plays a role in the functionality, durability, and aesthetics of a hand fan. Together, they create a work of art that can be appreciated both for its practical purpose and its intricate craftsmanship.