Chang Son paper fan making village

(VOVWORLD) - Chang Son craft village is famous for carpentry and also widely known as the cradle of paper fan making.
Chang Son paper fan making village - ảnh 1 A product made in Chang Son village

In Chang Son, you will see alleys lined with fans put out to air. Any house involved in the trade is the kind of colorful space that inspires photographers.

Since the 19th century, Chang Son fans have been famous at home and abroad. The French colonialists used to exhibit Chang Son fans in Paris.

Village artisans like Duong Van Mo, Nguyen Duc Lan, and Nguyen Lan Tuyet are very well-known. In 2008, Duong Van Mo and Phi Quang Bo created the biggest wooden fan in Vietnam. It was accepted by the Vietnam Records Book Centre.

Craftsman Bo recalls: “I feel lucky to have made Vietnam’s biggest fan with artisan Duong Van Mo for the Hanoi Flower Festival. The fan is now displayed at the Van Ho Exhibition Center in Hanoi. As it is very tall, we had to use wood instead of bamboo to make the frame. The fan is 5 meters tall. When open, it is 10 meters wide. The sticks are made of rattan. On the fan is a painting of a rural market. When it was on display at the Ly Thai To monument, we had to erect scaffolding like when you build a house.”

Chang Son fans are diverse in patterns, designs, and types. They are made for daily use, festive occasions, and decoration. All possess a gentle beauty thanks to decorative patterns that feature Vietnamese scenery, fairy tales, poems, or parallel sentence.

Mr. Bo says: “Luxury fans are decorative fans that can be given as gifts. The sticks are made of bamboo. A stick is comprised of two splints pressed against each other. That’s why such fans are called combination fans. The spines of the fans are made of bone or horn. The painting, paper, and silk on the fan should be artistic with patterns of foliage or supernatural creatures. The foliage on Chang Son fans is more typical than on the products of other villages. They are sculpted in fine details. Art troupes that perform traditional operetta, classical drama, or traditional dance use fans made in Chang Son.”

Fan-making requires sophistication and meticulousness. A master artisan must choose the right bamboo for the sticks, the best rattan for the lacing, and the right paper for making leaves. The bamboo selected must be pliable and at least 3 years old. It is soaked in water for about six months to protect the wood from termites and mould.

The rattan fiber should be smooth and long so that the finished fan will have as few knots as possible.

To make their fans Chang Son artisans use traditional poonah paper from Dong Ho, the folk painting village in Bac Ninh province.

One of the most difficult steps is to stick the paper and fan frames together so that the paper will not crumple, even when the fan is folded, and it will be easier to open and close the fan later. The final step is to put a layer of lacquer on the fan to keep it shiny, durable, and beautiful.

Chang Son paper fan making village - ảnh 2 Duong Van Doan making paper fans for export to Japan.

Duong Van Doan, the son of artisan Duong Van Mo: “It takes many steps to make a paper fan. All are done manually and are equally important. To make a beautiful product, the craftsman must be careful at each step. To make a sophisticated items, craftsmen need to be hardworking and creative.”

Chang Son fans have been exported to the UK, France, Germany, Japan, and the Republic of Korea. The trade has increased villagers’ incomes and contributed to preserving and upholding the tradition of one of Vietnam’s aged-old craft village as well as promoting Vietnamese culture internationally.  

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