The sandalwood fan, which originated from the folding fan, obtained its name as both the fan ribs and the fan leaves were made of sandalwood. It had been a long history that the sandalwood was applied to make fan ribs. As is recorded by a Qing dynasty scholar, some of the fan ribs are made of ivory, some tortoise-shell, some sandalwood and some eaglewood... It indicates that people had already used Indian sandalwood to make fan ribs as early as Ming and Qing dynasty, but unfortunately it didn’t become the mainstream. The exquisite sandalwood fan familiar to people nowadays was derived from Suzhou during the Republic of China.
The Zhang-Duo-Ji Fan Store of Suzhou in the 1920s and 1930s produced the sandalwood fan of strong fragrance and delicacy with sandalwood as its raw material. In less than a century, the Suzhou sandalwood fan had become one of the finest and brightest pearl in the history of Chinese fan.
Making a sandalwood fan involves tens of sophisticated procedures, while making an exquisite sandalwood even requires several months of efforts and perseverance. One of the special technique, la hua, combines sawing, carving and drawing together to create refined art works with superb skills.
The development of Suzhou sandalwood fan is also a history of the development of handicrafts, which records various crafts and makes perfect combination among them. The artist strives to keep improving every fan and integrates poetic connotation with high-quality material and technique. Xing Weizhong, who was born in Suzhou, is an interpreter of contemporary Suzhou sandalwood fan. Nearly five decades have passed without ever noticing it since he joined the Suzhou Sandalwood Fan Manufacturing in his youth. He still sticks himself to the grace and beauty of the sandalwood fan with extreme patience and wisdom. The sandalwood fan makes Xing Weizhong an artist, while Xing Weizhong also manages to spread the Suzhou sandalwood fan.
Meanwhile, we would like to extend sincere thanks to Mr. Xing Weizhong for the donation of his work, which contributes to the enrichment of our collections.
Director of Suzhou Museum
拙政园The Humble Administrator's Garden