Tuanshan is the oldest form of hand fan in Chinese history and one of the great treasures of traditional Chinese arts. Before folding fans (Zheshan) appeared, Tuanshan were greatly used. This type of Tuanshan which can date back to the Han Dynasty, uses silk as the covering can carry arts like paintings, calligraphy and embroideries on both sides and decorated by Chinese knots, jades or tassels. It was popular among Chinese ladies as an accessory.
Tuanshan came in various shapes and forms (not like in the photo-set which are all round. But “Tuanshan” means “round fan” usually used as an umbrella term for all fixed fans), and were made in different materials such as silk, bamboo, wood, feathers, plantain leaves etc.(before folding fan appeared, Chinese men usually use those made by other materials rather than silk). The best ones had a surface covered by white silk from East China’s Shandong Province while the handles were crafted out of bamboo from Central China’s Hunan Province. Embroideries from Jiangsu is the most popular in “The Four Great Chinese Embroideries” (Jiangsu, Hunan, Guangdong and Sichuan embroideries).