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The Charm of the Japanese Fan

The inhabitants of the Land of the Rising Sun have since time immemorial attempted to decorate their daily lives with elegant objects; objects which have astonished and enraptured foreign visitors to their lands. A special place among these belongs to the fan. It was an irreplaceable object in old Japan, an almost essential item during the hot summer months. Tradition ascribed medicinal properties to the puffs of cool breeze caused by its motion. Fans became an essential accessory in both male and female fashion. They also served as magic amulets, driving off demons and used during the tea ceremonies and sacred rituals. They could be used to express a wide range of emotions ranging from happiness to grief, and contain ritual elements for weddings, festivals, celebrations, and burials.

The current exhibition displays traditional Japanese fans of the 18th - 19th centuries from the collection of Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, as well as contemporary ones (second half of the 20th century) from the personal collection of Yelena Petrovna Yankovska, fan artist and restorer. The bulk of these modern fans were presented to St. Petersburg as a sign of good will, friendship, and respect by the citizens of Japan.

The exhibition was an element of the festival "Japanese Spring in St. Petersburg".