One Thousand Faces Public Audience fan

Gender and clothing

Gender and space

Sexual division of labour

Today, we usually associate fans with female attire, but throughout history, especially in Asian cultures, this object has been used by both men and women. We can see this in the depictions on this piece, where both folding (the majority) and round fans are carried by men appearing in the two scenes, as well as the three women shown on the front of the leaf. In China, the Qing Dynasty (1644–1912) ushered in the golden age of folding fan production, painting, enjoyment and collecting. They became the favourite object of men of different social classes, with each man possessing one or two. And in the royal court and rich families, they might come to collect dozens or even hundreds of folding fans bearing illustrations and calligraphy. (Chen Ying, 2009).