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The Shanghai Painted Fan

The Shanghai Painted Fan

Form, Format, and Function

(p.25) Chapter One The Shanghai Painted Fan
Art Worlds
Roberta Wue
Hong Kong University Press

Addresses Shanghai painting through the fashionable painted fan. Often overlooked because of its modest size and ambitions, the fan’s identity as a mobile image and object of self-adornment boosted its popularity in late Qing Shanghai, appealing to consumer tastes for flamboyant display and conspicuous consumption. This chapter examines the ways in which the painted fan embodied Shanghai School painting through the use of popular subjects, dynamic styles and compositions, and its fusion of accessory and artwork. The fan is also examined as a fashionable and sought-after commodity, retailed and distributed through Shanghai’s glamorous fan and letter-paper shops, contributing to the growth of the city’s vigorous art market for an urban middle-class clientele.

Keywords:   Fans, Fan shops, Shanghai School, Illustrated books, Ren Bonian, Bird-and-flower painting, Etiquette, Gesture, Urban culture, Audience, Reception

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